Louisville Selected to Participate in President Obama’s New TechHire Initiative

March 10, 2015

Louisville has been selected as one of 21 cities to participate in TechHire, a new initiative to connect middle-class Americans to technology jobs, President Obama announced at the White House.

The new initiative is focused on promoting middle class economics to ensure that all Americans can contribute to and benefit from our American resurgence. Part of that effort requires empowering every American with the education and training they need to earn higher wages.

TechHire is a bold multi-sector effort and call to action to empower Americans with the skills they need, through universities and community colleges but also nontraditional approaches like “coding bootcamps,” and high-quality online courses that can rapidly train workers for well-paying jobs.

Employers in Louisville and across the United States are in critical need workers with these skills. Many of these programs do not require a four-year degree. A local program, Code Louisville, was one of those used by the Obama administration to developed the TechHire initiative. Code Louisville is a collaboration between the city’s Department of Economic Growth and Innovation, Greater Louisville Inc, EnterpriseCorp, the Louisville Free Public Library, and KentuckianaWorks, and it has already convened more than 20 IT employers in the mission to fulfill tech jobs. The program uses a free software training system through Treehouse, training a new generation of coders and connecting them to available jobs.

The goal for Code Louisville is to get a minimum of 850 coders trained and working for local companies over the next three years. Code Louisville courses last 12 weeks and cover skills such as front and back-end Web development, and development of software and applications for mobile devices. Students work independently on their own schedule and meet one day a week in the evenings for two hours to review their work, get “unstuck” and learn from experienced mentors in the tech community. At the end of each course, students have compiled a portfolio of work to show prospective employers at a job fair or interview.

People interested in learning more about Code Louisville or enrolling in the next class can go to www.codelouisville.org/candidates/.

Local software developers who would like to mentor a Code Louisville class can sign up to help at www.codelouisville.org/mentors/.

By 2020, there will be one million more computer programming jobs in the U.S. than workers to fill them, and 10,400 of those jobs will be in the Louisville Metro area – the 13-county training region. Currently, the area has more than 1,700 technology job openings. Salaries start at $45,000-$60,000 with no degree necessary. Code Louisville was created to close the skills gap and prepare the region’s residents to demonstrate those job-ready skills for these high-paying tech jobs.

The President is challenging other communities across the country to follow Louisville’s lead.
• $100 million in new Federal investments to train and connect more workers to a good job in technology and other in-demand fields. The Administration will launch a $100 million H-1B grant competition by the Department of Labor to support innovative approaches to training and successfully employing low-skill individuals with barriers to training and employment including those with child care responsibilities, people with disabilities, disconnected youth, and limited English proficient workers, among others. This grant competition will support the scaling up of evidence-based strategies such as accelerated learning, work-based learning, and Registered Apprenticeships.
• Private sector boosts tools and resources to support and expand continued innovation in technology training, with a focus on reaching under-served populations. Private sector leaders are announcing commitments to provide free training through online training slots and expanding “coding bootcamps” – which provide intensive training for well-paying jobs, often in the course of just a few months – to low-income and underserved Americans including women, minorities, and veterans across the nation. National organizations are committing to work with interested cities to share job and skills information, job-matching tools, and other resources to help support the growth, adoption, and creation of promising practices across the United States.

Details on the Tech Hire Initiative

The TechHire initiative builds on work cities like Louisville, St. Louis, Philadelphia, New York City and the State of Delaware are doing to connect more Americans to well-paying technology jobs through a potent combination of new tools and training models.

Over 20 forward-leaning communities are committing to take action – with each other and with national employers – to expand access to tech jobs: The TechHire initiative will achieve its goals by connecting communities together so promising ideas happening in one community can be rapidly adopted by other regions. The 21 communities stepping up and responding to the President’s call-to-action include: Louisville, New York City, Colorado, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville, Rochester, Chattanooga, Portland, Philadelphia, Delaware, City of Kearny and Buffalo County, NE, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Kansas City, Memphis, Rural Eastern Kentucky, Detroit, San Francisco and Albuquerque.