This month, the White House announced the TechHire Initiative, a new campaign to help fill the more than half a million open jobs in the IT sector. While the actual number of unfilled positions in fields like software development, cybersecurity and network administration is already being contested, the scope of the TechHire initiative sits squarely within the President’s campaign to increase middle-class Americans’ access to higher-paying professions.
How will the $100 million program affect communities and job-seekers in the Southeast? With cities across Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas taking part in the initial effort, here are a few highlights.
Bolstered by municipal funding, the city has enlisted the help of a wide variety of tech training partners. Organizations like the Public Education Foundation and TN Code Academy/Girls Who Code, as well as the Chattanooga Public Library and Chattanooga State Technical Community College have been recruited to help provide local businesses with much-needed talent.
The Code Louisville initiative lies at the center of the city’s efforts to train and place new software developers. Federal grant funds from TechHire will aid in expanding this free 12-week program that teaches coding languages.
A key component of TechHire is IT training “in industries we don’t think of as part of the technology sector – in health care, retail, manufacturing, financial services, energy, transportation, or in local government,” according to the White House. In Memphis, this approach is already underway. Partnering with the Memphis Workforce Investment Network, eight local businesses across a variety of industries will participate in the ReadyWorkIT Internship and Apprenticeship program. The program will offer accelerated certification classes to 50-75 students, with the goal of job placement in those sectors.
Nashville’s tech promotion efforts focus on the K-12 education route, as well as on community colleges and four-year universities. The Nashville Technology Council aims to utilize funds from the TechHire initiative to increase enrollment in the region’s college technology programs, which are 50 percent below capacity and suffer from graduation rates as low as 20 percent.
San Antonio, Texas
Currently the only Texas city to participate in the TechHire initiative, San Antonio’s fast-growing tech industry has much to gain from growing its pool of skilled IT workers. Frederick Mendler, co-founder of one of the firms to emerge from the city’s Geekdom tech incubator, sums up the optimism many are feeling:
In six weeks they can come out with some really good programming skills, and 90 percent of these people are hired within three months of finishing the program.
Photo Credit: Marc Nozell via Flickr