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Learn to Earn at Cloud Wise Academy in Redding

07/25/2017 11:00AM ● By Claudia Mosby

Silver Lining

August 2017
By Claudia Mosby
Photo courtesy of Cloud Wise Academy

According to the National Retail Federation, online retail sales are estimated to grow by 8 to 12 percent in 2017 and Cloud Wise Academy’s mission is to ensure the Redding market is prepared to capitalize on that growth.

“We really started the company to solve a problem,” says co-founder and Vice President Kristin Zhivago. “Redding, like many other communities, was facing a shifting economy. There were plenty of jobs for people with the right (technical) skills, but many didn’t have or weren’t being taught those skills.”

Zhivago and co-founder and CEO Joe Mckenna started Cloud Wise in July 2016 for just that reason. The company operates on a “learn to earn” motto. Classes are offered in a workshop format and Zhivago says, “There’s no theory. It’s hands-on, learn how to build it, so you can go out there and make a living doing it.”

With the e-commerce economy growing faster than the non-e-commerce economy (roughly 4 to 8 percent, according to the National Retail Federation), Zhivago says understanding how to build a website and set up search engine optimization are skill sets critical to businesses that want to stay competitive in this growing market.

Since its opening, Cloud Wise Academy has trained more than 70 people, many of whom have gone on to jobs in the technical field, several of them with the company.

Rodrick Dusio MacDermott served in the National Guard, where he worked as a heavy equipment operator. Later, he went to college but admits he didn’t enjoy it. After failing out, he moved from job to job until a friend gave him information about a computer class seeking veterans.

“I’m pretty computer literate, so I stopped by and met Joe,” says Dusio MacDermott. “I took the Websites for Beginners class and discovered I was really good at it.” He also says he put in the extra time outside of class to learn additional skills, including how to post to his own server, and Mckenna took note.

“While I was taking WordPress for Beginners, Joe hired me,” Dusio MacDermott says. “He seemed really impressed that I could incorporate advanced features into website building. Everyone seems to hate desk jobs, but I love it. There’s a lot of learning in my job.”

Lindsay Thompson went to Cloud Wise to learn how to build a website for a hobby project. Although her goal was to learn enough about coding to work with the advanced WordPress templates she had been exploring, she surpassed her own expectations.

“We built our websites as part of the class and I didn’t even end up using WordPress,” says Thompson. “I designed my own pages from scratch using JavaScript, HTML (HyperText Markup Language), and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). I left with so much more than I thought I would get out of it.”

(For those who do not speak code: HTML is used to describe and define a webpage’s content, CSS its appearance and JavaScript its functionality.)

Thompson went into the class not knowing anything about website design, but after six weeks of classes she came out fairly knowledgeable. “I don’t want to brag, but I think I had the best website in the class,” she says. “The instructor always mentioned outside sources and I took it upon myself to investigate and learn more.”

Besides the Website Design and WordPress courses, Cloud Wise also offers Search Engine Optimization, Photoshop and the newly added E-Commerce workshops. 

Business Coaching workshops, geared toward managers, are also available. “You can’t manage something you don’t understand,” says Zhivago. “Business owners take our classes so they can oversee the work of others and ensure it is being done properly.”

Classes are set up so someone who is already working or has a family can attend, says Zhivago. Most run twice weekly in the evenings for six weeks and cost less than $300, which includes a certificate of completion. The new E-Commerce class, which started last month, costs $479. Scholarships are available. 

(800) 241-0341 • [email protected]