ProMedica Partners with Technology Company Bitwise Industries and Other Community Stakeholders to Launch Innovation Center

Partnership to bring technology jobs, workforce training and innovation opportunities to Toledo

ProMedica a mission-based, not-for-profit health and well-being organization, announced that it is partnering with Bitwise Industries, a Fresno, California-based tech apprenticeship engine, to launch an innovation center in Toledo. 

The innovation center will focus on accelerating partnerships, supporting workforce development, and facilitating technology innovation. Racial, ethnic, socio-economic and gender diversity will be at the core of the innovation center’s mission.

Bitwise’s apprenticeship approach allows people to earn-while-they-learn, removing the financial barriers of traditional education and professional advancement opportunities. Technology is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and positions in the field are high-wage, high-growth jobs. The Bitwise model empowers communities of concentrated poverty to access quality jobs in the fastest-growing industry in the global economy.

As Bitwise opens a regional office in Toledo at the innovation center, it expects to generate hundreds of jobs over time. The company also expects to expand partnerships that open up job opportunities for the technology workforce it will train.

“I am the daughter of field workers from one of the poorest areas of California. Through a fortunate series of events, I found myself at the University of Toledo graduating with a degree in Computer Science and working in the tech industry with professional possibilities I never could have dreamed of as a child,” said Irma L. Olguin Jr., CEO and co-founder, Bitwise Industries. “This country is filled with stories similar to mine – people from underserved communities, who never thought these kinds of opportunities would be accessible to them.Together, Bitwise and ProMedica are working to make what was serendipity in my life far more common for the people of Toledo. By connecting people to the skills they need to enter the technology industry, and by surrounding them with a vibrant and inclusive space, we will lift up the entire region.”

“We are extremely pleased to be partnering with Bitwise and to be its first community project outside of California,” said Randy Oostra, president and CEO, ProMedica. “The company has a strong track record, and its mission strongly aligns with ProMedica’s social determinants of health and innovations efforts. We believe this partnership will enable us to build upon our successes and continue the momentum in our community. Together, and with the help of other community partners, we expect to elevate the innovation and technology landscape in our region while creating career path opportunities for our underserved populations.”  

As a Toledo-based anchor institution and leader in addressing the social determinants of health, ProMedica understands the role economic vitality plays in the community’s overall health and well-being. For a community to improve, opportunities need to exist for everyone in the community. That understanding motivates ProMedica to partner and invest in catalytic projects like the innovation center to spur economic development and support a better quality of life for everyone in the community.

ProMedica’s investment in the innovation center builds upon the work the organization has been doing as part of the ProMedica Ebeid Neighborhood Promise in the Uptown neighborhood. Accordingly, the innovation center will have a strong focus on jobs, education, health, stability and resident engagement.

The innovation center’s location will be the former Jefferson Center, which ProMedica is in the process of acquiring. The Jefferson Center is expected to undergo a renovation, and Bitwise will be a partner in the development of the innovation center. The center will also serve as a business incubator for technology and non-technology businesses to foster synergies and create new opportunities. Building renovations are expected to begin late 2021, and occupancy will start early 2023. Bitwise will launch its operations in a temporary space so that its work in Toledo can start in 2021.

“JobsOhio and our partners welcome Bitwise Industries’ plans to partner with ProMedica, to bring hundreds of new jobs to Ohio,” said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president and CEO. “This investment reinforces our commitment to Northwest Ohio and is further evidence that Ohio’s value proposition is resonating more and more with tech businesses on the Coasts.”

The project is contingent on the approval of state and local incentives. JobsOhio also plans to provide assistance which will be made public after the final agreement has been executed.

ProMedica is a mission-based, not-for-profit health and well-being organization headquartered in Toledo, Ohio. It serves communities in 28 states. The organization offers acute and ambulatory care, an insurance company with a dental plan, and post-acute and academic business lines. The organization has more than 49,000 employees, 12 hospitals, 2,500+ physicians and advanced practice providers with privileges, 1,000+ healthcare providers employed by ProMedica Physicians, a health plan, and 335+ assisted living facilities, skilled nursing centers, memory care communities, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, and hospice and home health care agencies. Driven by its Mission to improve your health and well-being, ProMedica has been nationally recognized for its advocacy programs and efforts to address social determinants of health. For more information about ProMedica, please visit www.promedica.org/aboutus.

Bitwise Industries creates a bridge between humans from marginalized communities and stories of systemic poverty to skills and resources necessary to access opportunities in the tech industry. By leveraging public-private partnerships, Bitwise provides paid apprenticeships to students to learn tech skills, connects them to meaningful tech opportunities, and builds vibrant buildings in underestimated cities to house their work. By upskilling disenfranchised humans, it empowers them to change their own lives—which ignites and transforms the regional economies of the cities in which Bitwise serves.

Bitwise has raised more than $100M in support of this important work; expanded its model to serve five cities (Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced, Oakland, and Toledo); and built a tech apprenticeship engine that will drive national jobs/economic recovery in 2021. To learn more about Bitwise Industries, check out www.bitwiseindustries.com.