WeWork just bought a coding bootcamp, betting on the future of vocational schools

In a gamble against expensive 4-year college degrees, the shared-workspace company has purchased NYC-based coding bootcamp, Flatiron School.

In a gamble against expensive 4-year college degrees, the shared-workspace company has purchased NYC-based coding bootcamp, Flatiron School.

WeWork plans to expand Flatiron from its single location in New York to most of the 170 WeWork offices, which would help to further test the growing idea of bypassing college in the US tech industry.

The value of the acquisition wasn’t released — but with a $20B valuation, WeWork is tied for the 6th most-valuable startup in the world, so they certainly have some impressive buying power.

A natural fit

According to Flatiron’s co-founder, Adam Enbar, the deal aligns with the same cultural shift WeWork has been marketing since they came on the scene: an accessible, and affordable community at work — a physical space where people can work, live, snack, network, and learn.

“Connecting people through space, design, technology, and community are what humanizes the way we work and live,” WeWork’s CEO Adam Neumann has said. “We are all students for life.”

This acquisition comes at an interesting time for Flatiron

Many so-called experts preach that four-year colleges have lost their significance — especially in Silicon Valley, where self-taught engineers abound.

But can these boot-camp programs adequately train students for jobs in such a short amount of time?

According to Fast Company, the Flatiron School was fined $375k by the New York Attorney General’s office earlier this month for marketing dubious job placement rates and salary ranges for its graduates, claiming that 99% of students were able to get jobs after graduation.

As part of the settlement, Flatiron now has to be more transparent about exactly how many of its grads are getting starting salaries of $75k+, and how many actually secure full-time employment upon graduating.

Maybe WeWork’s cool guy energy will help set the school straight.

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