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The White House today doubled the amount of communities participating in its “TechHire” initiative that aims to equip Americans with the skills they need to land jobs in the tech industry.

Launched one year ago with 21 communities, TechHire brings together private companies with city and state governments to help prepare underemployed folks for tech-related jobs by utilizing both universities and colleges, but also non-traditional education methods like coding bootcamps which provide an accelerated path toward employment.

Seattle is one of the 15 additional communities now part of TechHire. City officials will work with organizations like Seattle Colleges, Ada Developers Academy, Substantial, and EnergySavvy to help train and place 350 people for tech jobs in 2015 and up to 2,000 people by 2020.

David Harris.
David Harris.

“With the TechHire initiative, more Seattle residents will fully participate in this growth industry with access to pathways leading to life-changing, meaningful careers,” Mayor Ed Murray said in a statement. “We will leverage this program and the White House’s support to launch new local initiatives, extend the impact of our Summer Youth Employment Program, and accelerate the incredible work of community partners.”

David Harris, Startup Advocate for the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development, told GeekWire that it’s a “huge accomplishment” to have Seattle included as part of TechHire.

“It recognizes all the great things we already have going on that align with this initiative,” he said.

Harris said that TechHire, which now includes 50 communities and more than 600 employer partners, will also help those from underrepresented communities, along with people of color and women, get easier access to technology training.

 (Kurt Schlosser, GeekWire)
(Kurt Schlosser, GeekWire)

“I’ve always seen Seattle as a place that can be a pioneer for not just cool technology, but we also have a long history of social justice,” he said. “Some of the mayor’s initiatives for youth employment line up with what TechHire is all about. This is just another reason for why Seattle will be a leader again in the convergence of technology and social justice.”

There have been 63,000 new jobs created in the last five years in Seattle, in large part due to the fast-growing tech sector. In the last month alone, there have been 1,800 new job postings for software developers, the city said.

The city’s Office of Economic Development will not receive federal funding as part of the TechHire program, but will be able to access other federal resources to help support the initiative in Seattle. Tech giants like Amazon, Boeing, Expedia, and Microsoft have pledged their support for TechHire.

Via the White House, here are the three “actions” that TechHire communities commit to, as part of the program:

  • Using data and innovative hiring practices to expand openness to non-traditional hiring: Communities are working with employers to provide data on what skills are most needed, to increase hiring of graduates from both nontraditional and traditional training programs, and to review—and upgrade—recruiting and hiring practices to enable non-traditional hiring.
  • Expanding models for training that prepare students in months, not years: Communities are recruiting, incubating, and expanding accelerated tech learning programs – such as coding bootcamps and innovative online training – which enable interested, unexperienced students to rapidly gain tech skills.
  • Active local leadership to connect people to jobs with hiring on-ramp programs: Communities are building local strategies to connect people to jobs by investing in and working with organizations who can vouch for those who have the skills to do the job, but who may lack the typical profile of education and experience.

And here are the 15 new TechHire communities:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Burlington, VT
  • Flint, MI
  • State of Hawaii
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Jackson, MS
  • Jackson, TN
  • Miami, FL
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Riverside, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Commonwealth of Virginia
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