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50 cities that are creating new paths to tech jobs

President Obama’s TechHire initiative is working with communities across the country to fill the tech talent shortage.

50 cities that are creating new paths to tech jobs

Many jobs that require tech skills didn’t exist 10 or 15 years ago. And for all that gets written about the massive growth of the tech industry, a lot of these jobs are sitting around unfilledWired estimates 500,000 jobs in all. There’s a marked talent shortage in IT, affecting not only Silicon Valley start-ups, but health care and financial services companies where more than half of these openings exist. So while it’s encouraging to see employment opportunities rising and companies looking to hire, the question remains: How is America going to fill its tech talent shortage?

One issue involves employer biases about what constitutes a qualified job candidate. IT jobs often go unfilled because employers tend to primarily recruit people with technology degrees from four-year colleges. This means candidates from less traditional backgrounds won’t make the cut, even if they have the talent.

It was that principle that led to the creation of the TechHire Initiative, which President Obama announced in a speech at last year’s National League of Cities annual meeting. A $100 million campaign that aims to work with communities to get more Americans trained for well-paying tech jobs and help employers find them, it seeks to draw from the expected universities and colleges, but also less traditional sources of IT candidates like community colleges, the military, high-quality online courses and coding boot camps.

“When these jobs go unfilled, it’s a missed opportunity for the workers, but it’s also a missed opportunity for your city, your community, your county, your state, and our nation,” said Obama. “If we’re not producing enough tech workers, over time that’s going to threaten [American] leadership in global innovation.”

The program is targeting well beyond Silicon Valley or other areas considered tech and start-up hot spots, focusing on all regions of the country. While it launched last year with 21 communities and 300 national employers who had committed to take action, last week it was announced that the program had grown to over 50 total communities and over 600 companies, with 15 new communities announced on March 9.

“It turns out it doesn’t matter where you learned code, it just matters how good you are at writing code. If you can do the job, you should get the job,” said Obama. 

So what specific actions are cities and TechHire taking? In Jackson, Tennessee, one of the cities invited to join TechHire last week, regional innovation center theCO will partner with employers to expand its CO:de Catalyst Program, training and placing 100 individuals into paid internships, apprenticeships and jobs in 2016. By 2020, the city hopes to get that number up to 350.

Flint, Michigan also joined TechHire last week. There, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Social Impact Philanthropy and Investment (SIPI) to help 400 job seekers find training and prepare for opportunities with local employers like the Disability Network, sipIT and the Michigan Employer Resource Network Team. Flint TechHire will also be partnering with the Mott Community College to train and place Flint residents in tech jobs.

Similar plans are in place for the 48 other cities and communities that have partnered with TechHire. Is your city on the list? Check out all 50 below—details of each city’s initiative and partners can be found on the TechHire site.

  1. Akron, OH
  2. Albuquerque, NM
  3. Atlanta, GA
  4. Austin, TX
  5. Baltimore, MD
  6. Birmingham, AL
  7. Buffalo County, NE
  8. Burlington, VT
  9. Chattanooga, TN
  10. Cincinnati, OH
  11. Colorado (State of)
  12. Delaware (State of)
  13. Detroit, MI
  14. Eastern Kentucky
  15. Flint, MI
  16. Hawai'i (State of)
  17. Indianapolis, IN
  18. Jackson, MS
  19. Jackson, TN
  20. Kansas City, MO
  21. Los Angeles, CA
  22. Louisville, KY
  23. Lynchburg, VA
  24. Maine (State of)
  25. Memphis, TN
  26. Miami, FL
  27. Milwaukee, WI
  28. Minneapolis, MN
  29. Nashville, TN
  30. New Haven, CT
  31. New Orleans, LA
  32. New York City, NY
  33. Newark, NJ
  34. Oakland, CA
  35. Philadelphia, PA
  36. Pittsburgh, PA
  37. Portland, OR
  38. Raleigh, NC
  39. Rhode Island (State of)
  40. Riverside, CA
  41. Rochester, NY
  42. Salt Lake City, UT
  43. San Antonio, TX
  44. San Francisco, CA
  45. San Jose, CA
  46. Seattle, WA
  47. St. Louis, MO
  48. Tallahassee, FL
  49. Virginia (State of)
  50. Washington, DC

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