About a year ago, we began working with Speaker Pro Tem Dan Pabon in the Colorado State House of Representatives on a new national initiative called TechHire. TechHire was founded by the White House in partnership with cities and states across the U.S. aimed at supporting coding schools like ours and helping more people make the transition into new careers in tech. We are very proud of the work accomplished through the TechHire initiative and wanted to share with you a bit about the program, as well as a very kind letter written by Rep Pabon earlier this week about one of our students.
Since the financial crisis in 2008, the U.S. economy has become more dynamic, creative and focused on future-relevant industries like high-tech. As the tech industry has continued to grow, and technology has crept into nearly every part of our daily lives, tech literacy and the demand for trained employees has continued to grow rapidly. Today, there are nearly 500,000 unfilled jobs in high-tech across the U.S. These are good paying jobs that remain vacant because there simply aren’t enough qualified people available in the workforce to do them.
Looking at this gap, and calling on nearly 25 years of experience in corporate IT training, we saw the opportunity to open Skill Distillery and offer a “crash course” in computer programming. It turns out, we weren’t alone. Across the country, other people saw this opportunity and began to build computer coding schools designed to train people into these open jobs. As this novel kind of training gained momentum and attention, the White House took notice and wanted to help. Recognizing this labor shortage as a drag on national output, President Obama and his team at the White House launched TechHire.
We are very proud of the work that we have done with the White House and with Rep. Pabon. Earlier this week, Rep Pabon learned about one of our students, Jonathan Smith, and his remarkable story. He shared that story with his constituents, other elected officials and leaders both here in Colorado and in Washington, D.C.
Thank you Representative Pabon for your continued leadership on this very important work. Together, we are helping put America back to work!
Dear Colorado TechHire Community,
It has been nearly 18 months since Colorado began working with President Barack Obama and other national leaders to develop a new focus on building America’s high-tech work force to fill the industry gap. Together, the TechHire community has launched new schools, supported growing programs, and stimulated a diverse range of learners to change their lives by changing career paths. Here in Colorado, we have witnessed scores of success stories from different developer boot camps, a new concept in the wide array of available educational offerings. One recent story stopped my in my tracks, and I wanted to take a moment and share it with you:
Jonathan Smith, 39, always had an interest in computers and programming. But after his service as a U.S. Marine ended, he worked odd jobs and manual labor, from driving a limo to working at Chili’s to operating heavy machinery. Most recently, he worked as an exterminator. But Smith began to lose steam, and resented the unfulfilling and unsustainable work, getting the itch to find a more secure future for himself and his family.
He began to research coding schools and when he discovered that Skill Distillery in Greenwood Village, Colorado would allow him to pay for a 19-week coding boot camp with his GI Bill®, he jumped at the opportunity. Upon completion of this program, Smith was immediately hired by Genova Diagnostics, a global clinical lab, with pioneering systems to support heath care providers, with a salary nearly twice what he made before learning to code.
I have attached a release with more details about Jonathan. His story is just one example of how coding programs, and the TechHire Initiative, are changing lives and helping reshape our economy for the future.
Thank you for all you are doing