Louisville launches LouTechWorks
Initiative designed to radically scale city’s tech talent pipeline
Mayor Greg Fischer today announced the launch of LouTechWorks, an initiative to boost Louisville’s efforts to rapidly expand its tech talent pipeline in collaboration with education, nonprofit and employer partners.
“To compete – and win – in the economy of the future, Louisville must greatly expand the number of technology jobs and radically scale our training platform, in partnership with employers, education partners and others,” Mayor Fischer said. “Today, we take the first step in doing that by launching LouTechWorks.”
As part of LouTechWorks, Jefferson County Public Schools will teach students digital literacy starting as early as kindergarten, introduce an Applied Digital Skills Curriculum in middle school and provide high school students access to technology career pathways through Academies of Louisville. Six regional institutions of higher education also have committed to expand their technology education offerings and grow the number of students participating in various technology degree programs and certifications. Those higher education partners are Bellarmine University, Jefferson Community and Technical College, Indiana University Southeast, Ivy Tech Community College, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Louisville.
Today, Louisville has about 79 percent of the technology jobs it should have for a city of its size, and the economy of the future is going to require significantly more jobs in software development, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. This initiative seeks to meet those demands.
In order to get to 100 percent, we need to quintuple the city’s projected technology job growth over the next few years. That means maximizing the local technology talent pipeline and ensuring people are getting the digital literacy and training they need to be competitive and obtain technology jobs, which pay well, are growing fast, and are less susceptible to automation.
In creating LouTechWorks, the city worked with partners from K-12 to short-term training providers to two-year and four-year higher education institutions to maximize the local talent pipeline as much as possible. By increasing the output of trained technology workers, Louisville can fill more open technology jobs and begin to create a positive feedback loop that creates additional technology jobs through increased business attraction, existing business expansion, and new start-ups. Achieving these goals will create a foundation for a more prosperous city in an increasingly technology-oriented world.
The LouTechWorks complements other recent technology announcements, including the creation of the Center for Digital Transformation at the University of Louisville and the Tech Louisville program, a KentuckianaWorks and AMPED partnership that will allow residents in the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods to enter family-supporting IT careers. Tech Louisville was made possible when Louisville won a highly competitive JP Morgan Chase grant as part of its inaugural AdvancingCities Challenge.
The LouTechWorks will also build upon the success of Code Louisville, which has now trained 1,200 Louisvillians for technology jobs, and the recently launched Bit502 apprenticeship being piloted with Appriss, El Toro, GE Appliances, QSR Automations, Texas Roadhouse, and Waystar.
These efforts are just the beginning.
“One critical piece of this puzzle is state funding, and Kentucky is moving in the wrong direction. While most states began to re-invest in themselves as the economy recovered from the Great Recession, Kentucky was one of five states to cut higher education funding last year,” the Mayor said. “Until we as a Commonwealth begin to invest in our common future, we cannot expect to achieve better outcomes. We need serious funding for technology in higher education.”
Businesses also must join in the effort by creating cooperative or internship programs at their companies to help students learn on the job, by getting involved in the Louisville Tech Alliance and by hiring graduates.
Find out more about LouTechWorks by visiting https://loutechworks.org.
Quotes from the LouTechWorks partners:
“The University of Louisville is fully committed to this effort to grow our tech talent pipeline to meet the rapidly increasing regional and global workforce demand. We plan to add more faculty, expand and improve our space devoted to tech instruction and offer new programming to make tech more accessible to more people. Our plan for stronger technology programs touches all parts of the university. We expect our efforts to impact our entire campus and, in turn, the community as we graduate better prepared and more knowledgeable students.” – Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, President, University of Louisville
“Bellarmine is committed to preparing graduates for the technology jobs that exist today while educating innovators to lead the technological enterprises that will define Louisville's economy tomorrow. Technology presents tremendous opportunities for our graduates to translate the ideas inspired by the liberal arts and sciences into real solutions for our world’s problems. We’re excited to work with Mayor Fischer and Louisville Forward to align our programs with the community’s needs in the area of technological innovation.” − Dr. Susan M. Donovan, President, Bellarmine University
“Increasing the technology talent pool must be a priority of the entire region. Regions that can grow the number of technology graduates, as well as attract and retain technology talent will be able to compete for the jobs and companies of the future and also enhance the overall quality of life and economic well-being for its entire citizenry. Indiana University Southeast is proud to be teaming up with the City of Louisville and the other educational partners to provide needed education and training to help the region grow and thrive in today’s tech environment.” − Dr. Uric Dufrene, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at Indiana University Southeast
“As a community college, Ivy Tech is uniquely positioned to respond to regional workforce needs, and technology is an important piece of that. This collaborative initiative aligns with the mission of Ivy Tech, which is why we felt it so important to partner in growing the tech talent pipeline for Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana regions.” – Dr. Travis Haire, Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College in Southern Indiana
"We are answering the call from highly engaged members of our business community to build a technologically skilled workforce that keeps talented Louisvillians at home and compels new businesses to call Louisville home. The industry-driven curriculum, resources, and pathways are ready at Jefferson. To reach our city's goals, we need employers, en masse, to join this movement that will bridge their workforce gap.” – Dr. Ty Handy, President, Jefferson Community and Technical College
“Growing digital literacy at an early age is one of the best steps we can take to ensure that students are prepared for the wide-ranging, good-paying tech jobs available in a 21st century workforce − especially right here in Louisville. From the exciting, innovative learning experiences emerging from our Backpack of Success Skills and Academies of Louisville initiatives to the addition of more, beneficial digital literacy programs in the classroom, we are committed in JCPS to ensuring that students are incorporating technology into learning at every level.”
− Dr. Marty Pollio, Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent