Last week, Miami officially became a “TechHire Community.” Many believe that this could be a big step for Miami as an emerging international tech hub, and a boon for South Floridians who want to get into tech. But what exactly is TechHire, and what will it do for Miami?
FVI’s Arnie Girnun (who spearheaded the effort to bring TechHire to Miami, and now co-chairs the TechHire.Miami program), explains:
“The TechHire.Miami initiative will enable the community of South Florida employers, tech apprenticeship programs and accelerated learning providers to take the initial success being achieved in Miami to new levels, with broad community support and a greater focus on serving 17-29 year olds who want great tech jobs and do not have a way to get there.”
Girnun also shared that the “TechHire.Miami team is pursuing a broad-based community effort to receive a portion of the $100M TechHire grant that was recently released by the White House and the Department of Labor.”
That may be a lot to wrap your head around if you’re not yet familiar with the TechHire program.
Basically, the goal of TechHire.Miami is to make it easier for South Florida employers to connect with non-traditional tech employees, thereby helping companies and job-seekers reach their respective potentials while energizing and optimizing the Miami tech economy as a whole.
The TechHire program was created by President Obama, as a way to help close the widening “tech gap” that is becoming a major problem in this country. Today, there are over 500,000 unfilled job openings in tech, and the US Department of Labor projects that that number will rise to over a million by the year 2020. While this is a good indicator that there is a huge (and growing) demand for people with IT skills, it also means that there is a lot of economic opportunity that’s going to waste, as employers aren’t finding the people with the skills they need to help their companies thrive. At the same time, there are huge numbers of intelligent, technically-minded people in the American workforce who are unable to find fulfilling jobs and careers in the tech industry. The tech-gap problem does not arise from a lack of talented individuals; rather it stems from a lack of economic infrastructure that can efficiently deal with the new realities of the burgeoning tech industry. Outdated pathways to employment prevent capable individuals from reaching their economic potentials. TechHire is President Obama’s way of modernizing those employment pathways, and building a more efficient economic infrastructure for the present and future realities of the tech industry.
In the past, employers looking for tech employees would search for people with four-year degrees in Computer Science, three years of related work experience, etc. The problem is, there aren’t enough CS graduates to go around. When it comes to job positions vs. CS grads, demand has far outpaced supply. In response to this problem, coding bootcamps, vocational institutes, coding meetups, tech organizations and apprenticeships have popped up around the country. Many have had great success in training people with the skills they need to land their first tech jobs; often in months, rather than years. TechHire will work to expand these organizations, and forge mutually beneficial relationships between them and local employers, so that determined individuals can easily go from untrained & unemployed to trained & employed, as quickly and efficiently as possible.
This whole effort is summed up on the opening page of techhire.org:
By creating this network of relationships between tech organizations and employers, TechHire.Miami will work toward developing a kind of “tech ecosystem” within the South Florida community, that will not only help entry-level technologists find jobs and employers find good tech employees, but will bolster Miami’s economy as a whole, and help accelerate South Florida’s place as an emerging international tech hub.