FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno-based company Bitwise Industries is notifying all employees that they will be out of work until further notice.
The technology and commercial real estate company is experiencing financial hardships.
Leaders at the business say it led to a decision to furlough hundreds of employees immediately.
In a message sent to Action News by an employee, the company says both Bitwise and AlphaWorks apprentices will be furloughed, effective immediately.
At this time, officials say they are just suspended but are still considered employees.
Co-founder Jake Soberal said, "Furloughed individuals are still considered employees during their furlough period," adding he hopes they will be able to return to work when economic conditions or workloads improve.
The company has emphasized that staff members are not being laid off.
However, employees don't seem to have high hopes, taking to social media to say they are heartbroken.
In public posts, they say they are now looking for new work opportunities.
Root Access is a part of the Bitwise community.
The co-founder, who is also a Bitwise employee, says they are banding together to provide support to those impacted from helping with resumes to filing for unemployment.
Bitwise's buildings are in Councilmember Miguel Arias' district.
Arias says he hopes the company can get reorganized.
"We were grateful that they are able to expand into multiple cities --and be headquartered and invest in Fresno without any government subsidies from the city or anyone else," Arias said. "I am hopeful that Bitwise will be reorganized and come out of this as a stronger company, but I also want to be very thoughtful that they are an important part of downtown, but they are not the singular interest of downtown."
The City of Fresno is also a client of Bitwise, awarding a $1 million dollar grant last October to establish a Digital Empowerment Program providing technology skills workshops to small minority-owned businesses.
Half of that money has been paid out.
In a statement, Mayor Jerry Dyer, said in part, "They were surprised and saddened to hear about the financial difficulties." He goes on to say the city is "currently in communication with Bitwise to determine if the program will continue and whether any funding will need to be returned."
Bitwise employs 900 workers in Fresno, Merced, Bakersfield, Oakland, El Paso, Texas, and Toledo, Ohio.
The company opened in 2013 and has tried to create economic opportunities in underserved communities through its buildings and by facilitating apprenticeships.
Bitwise officials say paychecks that were issued last week will likely not go through when deposited.
Action News has reached out to Bitwise for comment, but we have not yet heard back.