I heard President Barack Obama speak to municipal leaders from across the country at the recently concluded National League of Cities (NLC) Congressional Cities Conference in Washington. The president unveiled a new initiative called “TechHire,” which is intended to employ a number of technical workers and to help municipal leaders connect tech training programs to available jobs. This is particularly crucial as, according to President Obama, more than 500,000 of the current job openings in the nation are in technology.
Colorado is one of the targeted areas for this new program. The president is launching a $100 million competition for innovative ideas to train and employ people who are underrepresented in tech. He feels that municipal leaders are uniquely poised to assist in this effort - hence his speech to NLC attendees, which included 120 Colorado municipal leaders from more than 20 cities and towns.
Colorado partners in the TechHire initiative include Colorado Rep. Dan Pabon from Denver, the Colorado Technology Association, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. This public-private initiative will help identify, connect, and train individuals seeking to learn new technology skills, especially computer programming. This training will come through state’s higher education network, including our great community college system, as well as nontraditional approaches such as “coding boot camps.”
The “TechHire” program recognizes that municipal leaders are uniquely poised as the great connectors, and supporting economic innovation is in our wheelhouse. CML recognized this same idea of municipal efforts in economic development in the 2015 State of Our Cities & Towns report - the array of approaches is impressive. Let me know what you think of this new idea and whether you would be interested in helping.