Kansas City will participate in new tech jobs initiative

Kansas City is joining other cities in a new initiative to help residents get high paying technology jobs.

President Obama announced the initiative today at the National League of Cities meeting in Washington.  Mayor Sly James, who was at the announcement, says Kansas City will join 21 other cities and regions participating in TechHire, billed as a multi-sector effort and call to action to give Americans pathways to well-paying technology jobs.

Here’s more from the mayor’s office:

“It’s a pleasure to once again join President Obama to tout another innovative program that will prepare our workforce for jobs of the future,” said Mayor James. “I’m grateful to each community partner for stepping up and helping us become a TechHire community.”

In Kansas City, the Full Employment Council and its educational and corporate partners will provide accelerated technology training to the chronically unemployed through the Reboot U program.

The University of Central Missouri and Metropolitan Community College have committed to providing customized training to program participants in three technology sectors: Healthcare organizations, small businesses, and large end-user IT firms.

Among Kansas City organizations providing on-site, job specific training and employment opportunities are Think Big Partners, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, University of Kansas Medical Center and Wireco World Group.

“When Clyde McQueen at the Full Employment Council asked us to develop several new competency-based certificate programs in Information Technology that focus on employer-identified needs, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Scott Boyce, of Workforce Central at the University of Central Missouri. “This program will serve long-term unemployed professionals and lead to better alignment of participant skill outcomes and employer needs.”

Partners will leverage a $500,000 grant from Missouri Division of Workforce Development. Partners will provide training opportunities that include a shark tank-styled initial interview, generalized training in core IT competencies, specific sector training crafted by experts in target industries, and an eight- to 12-week paid internship or apprenticeship.

In the TechHire Initiative, participating entities are committing to at least one of three different actions:

  • Using data and innovative hiring practices to expand openness to non-traditional hiring.
  • Expanding models for training that prepare students in months, not years.
  • Active local leadership to connect people to jobs with hiring on-ramp programs, such as hosting local tech community gatherings with engaged employers, attracting new, non-traditional training providers to their regions, and bringing visibility to existing local activities such as tech meet-ups, startup co-working spaces or startup-weekends.

In addition to Kansas City, participating cities and regions include St. Louis, New York City, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Detroit, San Francisco, Albuquerque, Chattanooga, Rochester, N.Y., Portland, Oregon, Rural Eastern Kentucky, Kearney and Buffalo County, Nebraska, and the states of Colorado and Delaware.

With TechHire, the U.S. Department of Labor is launching a $100 million H-1B grant competition to support innovative approaches to training and successfully employing low-skill individuals. This grant competition will support the scaling up of evidence-based strategies such as accelerated learning, work-based learning and registered apprenticeships, the White House fact sheet says.

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