Tech industry employers will tell you one of the biggest challenges they face is recruiting talent.
In October, the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) cited talent — how to develop, expand, grow, attract, and diversify it — as one of the key challenges facing the industry in 2017. “If there’s any one thing that unites large companies and small companies in the tech industry, it is that we create jobs about 10 times faster than the state produces talent qualified to take the jobs,” WTIA CEO, Michael Schutzler, recently told us. “That makes us the number one recruiter of talent in the country. So talent is front and center for every tech company.”
It’s a perfect storm of sorts: tech companies in need of workers who know how to code, and local educational institutions scrambling to create programs and find instructors to teach those skills. Two recent developments could alleviate this problem.
Earlier this month, the White House named Bellevue a TechHire community. The city will join nearly six dozen other communities in America tasked with training under-represented job seekers, such as overlooked youth, veterans, and the long-term unemployed, to be qualified to join the information technology field. The designation opens the door to millions of dollars in federal grants. Seattle was named a TechHire community in March.
The city of Bellevue also has thrown its support behind TechHire efforts, with Bellevue City Council directing $50,000 from the 2017 budget toward the program.
“We have always prided ourselves on providing quality programs that are aligned with the needs of our high-tech employers,” said Bellevue College product manager Mark Veljkov. “By bringing on full-time Coding Dojo instructors immersed in the evolving tech space, we know we’ll be able to arm our students with the most in-demand technologies.”
“There’s a unique opportunity for higher education institutions and coding schools to partner together to get an even larger number of individuals up to speed on programming,” added Coding Dojo CEO Richard Wang. “Coding skills are rapidly becoming a requirement in all industries and we want to give as many students as possible the opportunity to learn something that unlocks creativity and opens new career pathways.”