2021 Year in Review
Forge programs help students discover and develop their talents.
Scroll to learn more about each of our programs or click to jump.
Launch Internship Program
High-intensity skills training paired with a summer internship at a startup. Learn more →
Skills Courses
10-week, high-impact, part-time courses in digital skills. Learn more →
Impact Program
Quick, high-impact projects for nonprofits and the broader Charlottesville community. Learn more →
Forge Student Leadership
Our unique model empowers our students to lead Forge itself. Learn more →
Program Overview: Launch
Our high-intensity skills training and internship placement program.
Launch is designed to close the skills gap between what students learn in college and what they need to succeed in fast-paced jobs. We find the next generation of tech builders and then train them for 160+ hours before we place them at a demanding internship. This enables us to develop students' skills much farther than any other program we offer. All Launch students learn:

  • In-depth technical skills in either software engineering, data science, UX design, or marketing
  • How to solve real-world challenges as part of a team
  • Communication and professionalism skills to be an effective employee
  • Prioritization techniques for working in a startup environment
  • How to present technical concepts to non-technical audiences

In 2021, Launch continued to be an online program.

Launch applicants each year for ~100 spots

interns placed since 2017

gross income earned by Launch students in 2021

of students continue part- or full-time after their internship
Our Launch Tracks
1) Data Science
Advanced predictive analysis, ML, and visualizations

2) Software Engineering
Full-stack software development

3) User Experience Design
User experience design for web and mobile

4) Digital Marketing
Full-stack online marketing
Launch truly helped to equip me with the technical and professional skills that I need in order to be successful in my internship and beyond in future opportunities. The teaching staff and model allowed me to explore my interests and develop a much better understanding of digital marketing and all that goes into it. Launch overall was such a rewarding experience and I'm so appreciative of the skills I learned, people I met, and the internship/company that I was matched with.
Mary Larkin Douthitt, Launch 2021 Program Graduate
Our Innovative Payment Model
After students complete their internship, students pay Forge back for their $3400 tuition, which covers both their training and their internship placement. Even after paying that back, the median take-home pay for Launch 2021 was $4,150. This makes the transformative Launch experience possible for students who can't afford to go a summer without earning money. We also offer scholarships to students with very significant financial need.
Launch's tuition rate is 74% lower than the average cost of the typical bootcamp.
Our tuition is drastically cheaper than comparable programs, many of which charge $10,000+ for similar levels of instruction. Launch's low cost and scholarship program is made possible both by our proprietary teaching model and by our generous donor network.

Most schools have little to no incentive to make sure their graduates are prepared for awesome, high-paid jobs. We built Launch to challenge this traditional model and to purposefully align our incentives with our students.

Median student take-home pay after tuition is paid

paid out to students since 2017 (after tuition)
Overall, my favorite part of Launch has been getting to be a part of Forge and meeting so many cool, hard-working people. I love all of the Forge instructors, full-timers, and TAs. There's just this engaging and enthusiastic atmosphere at Forge that I really fell in love with throughout the course of this program. Every interaction I've had, every project I've been assigned has felt genuinely meaningful and fulfilling, both in my personal and professional life. Thank you all for such a great experience! I couldn't have found a better way to spend my summer as a rising 3rd year, especially after a year of remote-learning weirdness!
Ashley Park, Launch 2021 Program Graduate
Most of our Launch students continue their involvement with Forge after their internship. These Launch graduates bring what they learn back to the Forge community, where they serve as mentors, instructors, program managers, and more. This means that for every intern a company hires, they're also investing in the growth and development of new Forge students.

Our interns were outstanding, delivering real value to the business and interacting with senior stakeholders, displaying maturity and skill beyond a typical college student or junior employee.
Thompson Eberline
Managing Director, S&P Global
I love the Launch program - the training the interns receive is really helpful. Our Launch intern was incredibly efficient, smart, fun, and creative and I could not believe the speed with which she knocked things out!
Stephanie Lovegrove Hansen
Director of Marketing, Silverchair
We had an excellent experience with our intern. She was better then many entry level employees I've had.
Rachel Davis
Director of Product, Pearl Certification
Forge is an incredible institution and like nothing else at any university we work with.
Brendan Collins
College Recruiter, Google
Program Overview: Skills Courses
Our 10-week, high-impact, part-time courses in digital skills.
"Our Skills Courses are one of the best ways for students to get involved and explore Forge! We give students a chance to learn a new skill in a low-stakes atmosphere where they are free from the pressures of a typical classroom environment.

As a 4th year, I've continued to stay involved with courses throughout my time at Forge because there's something magical that happens when you have students teach and inspire each other. Our student instructors share with other students the methods that show you HOW to learn a new skill and not just facts that need to be memorized to succeed in a college classroom.

Skills course instructors get the chance to hone their skills and build their confidence as they watch their students develop. When talking to the instructors, it's clear that everyone's favorite part of the semester is final projects because then you see how much the students have learned!"

Christian Jung, Class of 2022, Forge Skills Courses Co-Director
Our Unique Course Model
Our Skills Courses are the most common way students start their Forge experience. They offer a low-stakes and low-cost way to explore a new skill or level up in something a student might already be familiar with, free of traditional academic pressures or prerequisites.

Our learning experience is strikingly different from a typical college course or MOOC. Our proprietary, project-based teaching method keeps curriculum current and is centered around how students can use their skills for good in their community. All of our instructors and teaching assistants are still students, which creates a supportive culture of learning amongst classmates.
2021 Skills Course Offerings
- Data Science III
- Data Science II
- Data Science I
- Software Engineering II
- Software Engineering I
- Digital Marketing I
- Graphic Design I
- UX Design I
- Videography I
- No-Code Prototyping I
Skills Course Cost + Financial Aid
Thanks to the generous support of our UVA sponsors, all UVA students pay only $95 for our Skills Courses. This is a significant discount from our (already low-cost) public price of $200.

Additionally, our generous donors enable us to offer $20,000 in scholarships to hundreds of students with financial need each year, over half of which goes to first-generation college students.

students each year take a Skills Course at Forge

of students start their involvement at Forge in a Skills Course

of Forge students say they'd recommend our courses to a friend
"The quality of Forge courses is the direct product of the incredible work done by several generations of student leaders. We've made the student learning experience into something that is more unique, rewarding, and real than any other educational experience I've had."
Ben Artuso, Class of 2021, Forge Student Data Science Instructor
Program Overview: Impact
Short term projects for local non-profits.
"When I first graduated a Forge course, I wanted more opportunities to use the skills I'd learned on real world projects, so it's really cool to now be working on the Impact team, which does exactly that.

We build teams of Forge members to complete pro bono projects for nonprofits. Our teams do data science, software engineering, marketing, and UI/UX work and help address the fact that many nonprofits can't pay for all of the technical talent they need to run successfully. We've partnered with nonprofits focused on food justice, affordable housing, sustainability, and more.

I love that project participants get to build their work experience, while serving organizations that are doing incredibly important work in the community."

Anna Grace Calhoun, Class of 2022, Forge Impact Program Co-Director
Program Details
Our Impact program places students on small, high-impact technical projects that serve the local community. Some projects are home-grown and others are for local nonprofits.

Impact inspires students to start stuff, gives students opportunities to practice their skills, connects them with the community, and teaches them project management. Projects typically last only 3-4 weeks, so students can complete as many projects as they'd like during a given semester.
Program History
Forge started the Impact program in early 2020. By the end of the year, 50 students will have completed a total of 8 projects. These include a fundraising campaign for COVID-19 relief, a get-out-the-vote web app, complex data analysis for several local nonprofits, and more. We're excited by this program's early success, and are actively seeking donor support to grow this program further in 2021.
Project Spotlights
Generation180 Solar Schools Data Visualization
UX, software engineering, and data science participants teamed up to create a dynamic data visualization webpage for Generation180 to explain how schools can pay to transition to solar energy as a part of their Solar for Schools campaign. Generation180 provides instructions and educational materials to help inspire and equip individuals and communities to transition to clean energy.
Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance
A team of UX designers created an awesome website for the Charlottesville Renewable Energy Alliance, which is an association of Charlottesville-based clean energy companies whose mission is to enable the growth and success of the local renewable energy industry through collaboration, community, and economic development. Here's a quick video of Sprint Lead Shawn discussing the project.
Organization of African Students
A team of 3 UX members used Squarespace to build the Organization of African Student's first ever website, which they use to house and display information about their organization, membership, upcoming events and serve as a point of service for selling Africa Day tickets.
Program Overview:
Student Leadership
Our unique model empowers our students to lead Forge itself.
Our secret sauce is our student leadership.
Students lead our marketing, our courses, and our community, while our full-time team and alumni network provide strategic direction, leadership development, and operational support. This hybrid leadership model enables us to create impactful, adaptable, engaging, and low-cost programs unlike any other school.
Students hold leadership roles at every level of Forge, from our board of directors to our program managers to our volunteers. However, our unique student-led model really shines when it comes to our courses and curriculum.

  • Student leaders can be better mentors and guides for their peers, since they've been in their shoes before and know where they might get stuck.

  • Student leaders know what makes a lesson fun (or extremely boring), so they know how to design programs their peers will love.

  • Student leaders inspire new Forge students to work hard and stay involved in our community. Their role communicates that in just two or three semesters they can not only learn an entirely new skill, but be ready to teach it to others.

  • Student leadership enables us to be more agile than any university or big company so we can transform our programs quickly as technologies change.

student instructors and teaching assistants hired each year

student program managers and marketing staff hired each year

of our student leaders are women
There's no doubt that my time in Forge helped me cultivate both my technical skills in data science and my leadership skills. I've had countless opportunities to just try new and crazy things and just run with it. I think Forge does a great job of empowering everyone to experiment and find things that they are really good at!
Christian Jung, 2021 Skills Courses Co-Director
Serving as a student leader at Forge is the most transformative experience we offer. We give 150+ students a year the opportunity to put their new skills to work by shaping and building an organization they care about. Joining our team is often the first time many students are given a chance to own something and to lead others, resulting in tremendous growth in their leadership, management, and technical skills.

It's not uncommon for a 19-year old at Forge to be leading a team of 10, teaching a class of 30, or designing a marketing campaign for thousands. Many of our best student leaders graduate with experience that is typically inaccessible until a second or third full-time job.
At Forge, I get to be part of a group of highly motivated and fun people who I can learn from, connect with, and be friends with. Not only am I part of an incredible community, I also get to build my network and have access to job opportunities and leadership opportunities. Forge is setting me up for personal success as well as professional success!

But the best thing about Forge is being part of a group of people I feel comfortable around and connect with who value me as a person."
Carter Bristow, 2021 Skills Courses Co-Director
Meet the people who make our community-owned school excel.