Atlanta Workforce Development Agency Receives $4 Million TechHire Grant from U.S. Department of Labor

ATLANTA, GA – July 1, 2016–The Atlanta Workforce Development Agency (AWDA) announced that it has been awarded a $4 million TechHire grant by the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant will support the ATL TechHire initiative, a program led by the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency, in partnership with The Iron Yard and TechSquare Labs. Participants in the ATL TechHire initiative will be enrolled in TechSquare Labs’ innovative culture fit, corporate innovation and career readiness programs, as well as fast-track training with one of The Iron Yard’s coding bootcamps. Participants will train for jobs in front- and back-end engineering, mobile engineering, data science, and design. The U.S. Department of Labor also awarded a $3.6 million grant to the Atlanta Technical College. Overall, Atlanta-based organizations received $7.6 million in total grant awards.

Earlier this year, the City of Atlanta announced that it was designated as a TechHire City by the White House. Atlanta joins more than 50 communities nationwide that have committed to creating pathways to better, well-paying tech jobs and meeting urgent employer demand.

“I am pleased and honored to receive the $4 million TechHire grant from the U.S. Department of Labor,” said Mayor Kasim Reed. “This grant makes it possible for the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency and our partners at The Iron Yard and TechSquare Labs to expand opportunities for our residents to learn the skills they need to participate in the twenty-first century economy. Atlanta has emerged as a leading technology and innovation hub in the Southeast, and partnerships like these support us in our efforts to make Atlanta the leader in an inclusive digital economy.”

The demand for technology jobs is outpacing the supply of available talent. Atlanta is among the top ten U.S. cities with the greatest supply-demand gap in IT jobs.

“This $4 million Department of Labor TechHire grant is a great opportunity for the City of Atlanta to ensure that our residents, particularly Atlanta’s youth and young adults with barriers to employment, receive the support and resources they need to attain training and self-sustaining employment in the growing technology industry,” said Michael T. Sterling, Executive Director, Atlanta Workforce Development Agency. “As the workforce system for the City of Atlanta, we are fortunate to push this effort forward. It is an honor to work collaboratively with our dedicated partners at TechSquare Labs and The Iron Yard to make sure that Atlanta is leading the way towards technology and business job growth in the south and throughout the country.”

Over $150 million in the H-1B TechHire grant program has been awarded to 39 partnerships providing training in 25 states across the country. More than 18,000 participants will receive services through the TechHire grant program, with a focus on youth and young adults ages 17-29 with barriers to employment, as well as veterans and individuals with disabilities, limited English proficiency, criminal records, and long-term unemployment. Training will center on high-growth sectors, including information technology, advanced manufacturing, and healthcare.

“Today’s TechHire Grant award to The City of Atlanta Workforce Development Agency, in particular, demonstrates the collaborative power of public private partnerships,” said Rodney Sampson, Partner, TechSquare Labs. “TechSquare Labs is excited about the role it is playing in ensuring that Atlanta is not just Inclusive Technology Capital of the South, but the nation and world. Long-term, by developing an inclusive technical workforce and ultimately, more technical cofounders of high-growth startups, we will solve the right problems that our Fortune 1000 companies are willing to pay for which will result in the creation of more diverse lead firms, new jobs, new wealth, new opportunities and transformed communities. We’re creating tomorrow’s Atlanta today as well as the model for other cities to emulate and follow.”

“The technology of the future must be created by tech talent who reflect technology’s diverse users,” said Jessica Mitsch, Executive Director of the Code School at The Iron Yard. “By increasing access to accelerated tech education programs we can take a critical step forward in training and empowering a strong, diverse tech workforce in Atlanta. The companies we work with locally are desperate for tech talent and we are confident in the incredible impact The Iron Yard, TechSquare Labs and the Atlanta Workforce Development Agency can have by joining forces.”

There is projected to be 1 million more IT jobs than computer science students in the United Statesby 2020. The City of Atlanta’s Department of Information Management has committed to filling 20 percent of its job openings in FY2016 with graduates from the Atlanta TechHire Initiative. The City of Atlanta Workforce Development Agency will develop a clearinghouse of employer needs, training programs, and job seekers to connect qualified candidates to open tech jobs.

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