Transformation of a downtown Toledo landmark will help transform lives

Bitwise Industries is renovating the former Jefferson Center as a tech training center.
Bitwise Industries is renovating the former Jefferson Center as a tech training center.
Published: Feb. 15, 2022 at 5:15 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Jefferson Center is a landmark downtown and the building is about to undergo a massive renovation. As we first reported last year, it will become the Toledo campus of a California-based tech company.

The building, constructed in the early 1900s, was originally a Post Office and sorting center. It later became a TPS vocational school but has sat empty for a number of years. It was purchased by ProMedica a few years ago and is now being transformed into a place that will help transform local lives.

Bitwise Industries is a tech company that works to help everyone land a job in the industry, especially those who may face employment challenges.

“We focus on folks who come from an under-served population,” explains Tammi Sherman, Vice President of Bitwise Industries Toledo “People of color, the LGBTQ community, veterans, people transitioning out of foster care, folks who didn’t graduate from high school, as well as those who have felonies.”

The long-empty space has been cleared out and renovations will get underway this spring. There will be classrooms and much more. “We have wrap-around services. We will have tenant space in the building. There are three floors. And a full basement. We will offer free child care services to our employees. We’ll have a cafe and an auditorium for public and private events.”

The training Bitwise offers is broad, and often leads to a job. “We teach website for beginners, mobile-friendly, javascript, and react. The majority of our students we will hire into our workforce development where we create software.”

So why Toledo? The answer is simple. “Toledo is the first expansion city outside of California, and that’s because of the company’s connection here. One of our founders is a graduate of The University of Toledo. She loved this city, the community, and the people here.”

The job is a homecoming for Sherman too. She moved away decades ago, but she’s proud to come home and be part of the renaissance of the city she loves. “I grew up in the Old West End, and I get to come back and help people like me. I am excited and honored they gave me this opportunity.”

The renovation work is expected to be finished in about 18 months, so it will likely be done in late 2023. Bitwise is already offering virtual tech classes in Toledo, and the company will soon have a temporary space for in-person learning. If you’d like to learn more about the opportunities through Bitwise Industries, click here.

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