Tampa wins $3.8M grant to train new technology workers

Posted at 10:34 AM, Jun 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-29 18:25:03-04
Millions of dollars are coming to Tampa to train more than a thousand young people and under-skilled workers in technology and healthcare for free.
The federal government has awarded Tampa one of 39 TechHire Partnership Grants across the nation, which is part of the White House’s TechHire Initiative. This initiative was pushed by Florida Congresswoman Cathy Castor. Now, all parties involved are hoping families can use this as a way to get ahead.
"The training is available and now it is without cost, which in many cases is an obstacle," said Kelley Sims of the Tampa Innovation Alliance. 
As the North Tampa area continues to evolve with a focus on becoming an innovation district, this grant will serve as a roadmap to higher-wage, middle-class jobs for current residents, according to the Tampa Innovation Alliance.  
Partners will work to develop programming and training. Education and training providers, including the University of South Florida, will allow participants to earn various credentials including certificates and associate degrees in customized programs, including computer system analysts, computer programmers, software developers, web developers, computer user support specialists, registered nurses, medical and clinical laboratory technologists and technicians and phelbotomists. 
Jason Lang, president and CEO of WestShore Technologies in Tampa said this is a great opportunity to get more trained, skilled tech workers in Tampa.
"It is all about the training," he said.  "It's about the certifications and the experience and anybody can do it."'
“The Tampa Bay TechHire program will expand local technology-related job training programs by focusing on accelerated training for youth and young adults with barriers to accessing employment,” said Ed Peachey, president and CEO of CareerSource Tampa Bay. “The program will also train incumbent workers for advancement in critical high-growth IT and Healthcare occupations. The partnership with Tampa Innovation Alliance, IBM, BayCare, and other local companies provides the foundation for long-term sustainable employment.”
Recognizing that many tech jobs do not require a four-year degree and that tech talent is often cited as an issue for companies, the federal government launched TechHire in March 2015. The initiative is designed to build economic development through the growth of technology jobs, according to CareerSource.
“This grant is a huge win for the residents of the university area community and will be the answer to many families struggling with unemployment and underemployment,” said Sarah Combs, executive director and CEO of the University Area Community Development Corporation. 
More than 150 businesses supported the grant application through their membership in the Tampa Innovation Alliance and the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, with several large corporations such as IBM, BayCare Health System and Celestar Holdings submitting letters of support, putting their companies on record for interest and excitement to hire the graduates of these programs.
The grant was a result of a partnership between CareerSource Tampa Bay, University Area Community Development Corporation, Hillsborough County, Tampa Bay Technology Forum and the Tampa Innovation Alliance.