Akron Is Now A TechHire City

A lot of attention has been given in recent years to the tech worker shortage and much discussion has been around how to get non-traditional, high aptitude people into tech skills quickly and what support structures are needed.

That’s a big part of the reason the White House created their TechHire initiative, a bold, multi-sector initiative designed to leverage universities, community colleges, and non-traditional training providers like “coding boot camps” to rapidly train workers for well paying, open jobs—often in just a few months.

And, in an exciting development for the region, Akron has been named as a TechHire city!

Akron’s selection was no accident.  More than 150 students have gone through training providers like the Software Guild, Northeast Ohio’s original coding boot camp, not to mention Stark State College (one of the largest community colleges in Ohio) and The University of Akron.  The Software Guild in particular has seen a 95 percent placement rate since its founding in 2013 and will train 350 candidates by the end of 2016.  They report an average starting salary in the region of more than $50,000 annually.

“The thing that most excites me is the opportunities that will be granted to people that previously could not afford to attend one of these programs, “ said Eric Wise, Chief Academic Officer of the Software Guild.  “We have had a few enterprising individuals without college degrees that were delivering pizzas or teaching music lessons who have stepped out of our program into great, well-paying careers.  The more people that have these opportunities, the better off the region will be.”

Education providers like The Software Guild are joined in this initiative by Conexus (formerly Summit Workforce Solutions), the City of Akron, the Regional IT Engagement (RITE) board and many others.  Several regional employers, including heavy hitters such as Progressive, National Interstate, InfoCision and Summa Health Systems, have also thrown their support behind the effort.

So what does this mean for the community?

  • Currently, grants are being applied for to offset training costs for students, in particular those that are underrepresented in IT.
  • Employers and education providers are collaborating on ensuring the curriculum is optimized to fill open positions.
  • A pathway and process is being created to funnel students towards the appropriate training resources, whether it’s a boot camp like the Software Guild or a certificate program from Stark State or University of Akron.

So, if you are an employer who needs top talent, help is on the way! And if you or someone you know has the chops to get into tech, keep an eye on TechHire. And as always, be sure to visit the JumpStart job board, to find great jobs at growing companies all across Northeast Ohio.