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Toledo is admitted to new ‘community’

Initiative aims at hiring in tech field

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Toledo was named among 20 new “Tech Hire” communities by the White House last week, which admits the city into a national initiative to boost hiring in tech fields, especially for people traditionally underrepresented in those jobs.

The Tech Hire initiative began in March, 2015, with 21 communities. The initiative now has 70 communities nationwide.

“The designation will enhance the greater Toledo region’s connections and investments in technology training and education to the work force and will help to prepare the work force of the future for high demand jobs, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) said in a statement.

“The TechHire Initiative is a forward-thinking national project focused on expanding local technology sectors by investing in technology training and education.”

The program does not come with money or new training opportunities, but those are possibilities, said Keith Instone, co-founder of a firm called Tech Toledo, which applied for the city's acceptance.

“Tech Hire is only getting us as part of this national network,” he said. “What we got on Thursday was simply letting us be part of that network.”

He cited the need for more students to be trained in high-tech jobs at places like Northwest State Community College, which already has applicable programs, he said.

Mr. Instone said Tech Toledo has been tasked to place at least 100 workers into tech jobs by 2020.

“We committed to 100 knowing we do not have any funding,” he said.

Tech Toledo will work with employers such as Meyer Hill Lynch, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, and The Andersons Inc., to find and develop training to help fill in- demand IT job needs, he said.

President Obama “launched the TechHire initiative based on a simple idea: Building a pipeline of tech talent can bring new jobs to local economies, facilitate business growth, and give local residents a pathway into the middle class,” said a White House statement. “To build such a pipeline, TechHire addresses employers’ great need for technology talent with emerging models for quickly training people with limited ingoing technology skills to be job- ready in months, not years.”

“Since its launch, TechHire communities across the country have piloted fast-track training programs designed to give people skills that are in high demand by employers,” the White House announced. “So far, over 4,000 people have been trained and connected to work opportunities with local employers, earning average salaries of well over median income.”

Communities in 39 states, Washington, and Puerto Rico have joined TechHire.

The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce and OhioMeansJobs Lucas County are also involved in Toledo's participation.

Toledo Councilman Sandy Spang said the TechHire Initiative would make it easier for the city win grant money.

“There are a lot of employers who have expressed a great interest in this,” Ms. Spang said. “The thing we don’t know is if this will survive the new administration.”

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.

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