Get Tech With It: TechHire Comes to Birmingham


Screenshot 2016-01-28 at 8.03.01 PMThe City of Birmingham brings the national TechHire initiative to the Magic City.

By Lauren Lockhart | View the original post on Facebook here

Have you heard of TechHire? This groundbreaking initiative empowers Americans for technology jobs by training them with the skills they need to join the flourishing tech industry. Under the leadership of Mayor William Bell, the City of Birmingham secured its status as one of the 20 participating cities in the nationwide TechHire program.

Working closely with the TechHire initiative is TechBirmingham, a nonprofit that serves more than 200 companies to create new technology opportunities within our region. Jennifer Skjellum, President of TechBirmingham, explains that the need for skilled tech workers is constantly growing.

Kathleen Hamrick, Innovation Depot

Kathleen Hamrick, Innovation Depot

“All of the jobs of the future require technical skills at some level,” she says. “As TechHire partners, we have an opportunity to create a new model for workforce development that can benefit the region, and even the state.”

In addition to training at colleges and universities, TechHire embraces nontraditional approaches–like “coding boot camps”—that train workers via intensive courses within a few months. Birmingham saw its own success with this nontraditional approach when Innovation Depot, Inc., a local incubator for tech businesses and TechHire partner, launched a software developer boot camp called Depot/U last year.

“For Depot/U, we partnered with local tech company Platypi to develop the curriculum and teach the course,” explains Devon Laney, the president and CEO of Innovation Depot. “Our first class was held in 2015, and nearly all program participants have already secured jobs.”

With plans to expand the program in 2016, Depot/U and TechHire will have an even greater impact on the region’s job market.

Jennifer Skjellum, President of TechBirmingham

Jennifer Skjellum (R), President of TechBirmingham

“We’re developing a city-wide pipeline to train people of varying skill levels for technology careers,” explains Kathleen Hamrick, the director of the Innovation Lab at Innovation Depot. “We’ll accomplish it because we are all working towards a shared goal, and Birmingham will be increasingly competitive nationwide because of it.”

The goal is simple: to fill the ever-increasing demand for tech jobs in Birmingham by giving able workers the tools they need to succeed. Another TechHire partner, the Birmingham Business Alliance, sees the effect that technology job training has on our city’s community.

“The TechHire initiative specifically targets non-traditional job candidates,” explains L. Waymond Jackson, Jr., the VP of Workforce Development with the BBA. “This holistic approach to training provides a great opportunity to bring a diverse group of individuals into the Birmingham technology workforce and increase our tech talent pool.”

Devon Laney, President and CEO of Innovation Depot

Devon Laney, President and CEO of Innovation Depot

Along with supporting TechBirmingham’s and Innovation Depot’s mission to equip people with technology training, the BBA can help connect individuals with regional companies that are seeking skilled employees for technology-based jobs.

The high demand for tech jobs in Birmingham will only increase in the coming years, and our city’s implementation of the TechHire initiative emphasizes recruiting, training, and retaining a talented workforce for the tech industry now and for the future.

To learn more about the TechHire initiative and its impact nationwide, visit the website www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology/techhire

Learn more about the latest projects in the City of Birmingham Mayor’s Office at www.birminghamal.gov

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