Office of Mayor William Peduto
Public-private partners train local workforce for tech sector; urge business community to mentor, hire participants

PITTSBURGH (March 6, 2017) – As TechHire Pittsburgh nears the midpoint of its training programs, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and Partner4Work, urge the local business community to meet, mentor and commit to hire from the program.

TechHire Pittsburgh, which connects to a national initiative to bridge the digital skills divide, aims to build a local, diverse pipeline to help meet employer demand for IT talent across sectors. The initiative includes two business-led IT training boot camps – one 12 weeks and the other 16 weeks – to quickly upskill motivated job seekers for entry-level positions in computer coding and quality assurance.

“We are building a whole new economy in this town. It’s happening. And happening quickly,” Mayor Peduto told a group of trainees during a site visit on Wednesday, March 1. “You’re the bridge to that new economy. You are the ones who will fill the jobs available today, encourage our businesses to expand in the future, and prove that there is room for everyone to succeed.”

The regional workforce demand for tech talent is expected to grow 2.6 times faster than Pittsburgh’s market overall. The expectation for growth – and the opportunity it represents for employment – inspired the partners to collaborate on TechHire.

“We know from our Inflection Point report that technology jobs are among our fastest growing in this region, across all industry sectors. Many of these jobs do not require four-year degrees but do require post-secondary training such as with TechHire,” said Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky. “If we are to remain globally competitive, we need to upskill everyone here, including those who are un- and under-employed, to provide them with on-ramps to these fast-growing occupations, which pay above living wage.”

Technology firms Rivers Agile Solutions and Mined Minds developed and deliver the training. Both firms believe that a tech background is not necessary to acquire the skills necessary to be marketable for employment and successful on the job.

“It's impossible for employers to find the talent right now," said Mined Minds co-founder Amanda Laucher. "There’s a disconnect. When people think about tech careers, they often think Silicon Valley or New York. Most don’t realize career opportunities tied to tech – across all sectors – are plentiful in our region, nor do they know that they can get the skills to be employable right here.”

A mobile video game, the Booeys: A Ghost’s Code, developed in partnership with Pittsburgh-based Simcoach Games, helps to identify those who would be well-suited for TechHire, based on their critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Following this type of screening and interviews with the training providers, 36 diverse men and women, varying in age, race, education, and work experience, were selected to participate in the boot camps. Some of these participants have connected with mentors from IBM and Ectobox. Soon, trainees from both boot camps will be available to refine their skills by working on real community projects.

Coding boot camp trainee John Verbosky of Bethel Park is eager to put his new skills to use. He equates the training to an apprenticeship.

“As businesses turn more to web-based commerce, they will need (TechHire trainees),” he said. “We’re training to be the brick layers for businesses with web-based commerce. We will be the ones who build the foundation needed for these businesses to succeed. Without a strong base, the plumbing, the wiring, none of it really matters.”

“TechHire is an example of what we’re doing to make connections that make sense” said Stefani Pashman, Partner4Work CEO. “In a few weeks, job seekers will be armed with the skills needed to get a job – a well-paying job – with the potential to grow. At the same time, we’re giving businesses what they need to grow, including access to a diverse and skilled talent pool ready to get to work.”

Learn more about TechHire Pittsburgh here.

Contacts:

Phil Cynar, Allegheny Conference, Phone:  412-281-4783, ext. 4573, E-mail: pcynar@alleghenyconference.rog, Web:  www.AlleghenyConference.org

Jen Pajewski, Partner4Work, Phone: 412-552-7098, E-mail: jpajewski@partner4work.org, Web: Partner4work.org

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