Representatives from Piloto 151 and Codetrotters were recently invited to the White House, representing Puerto Rico as one of 72 national “TechHire” communities to announce a campaign to place 100,000 Americans into tech jobs by 2020.
The nonprofits were selected earlier this year to join the #100kby2020 campaign to help fill more than half a million open technology jobs across all industries and regions in the country.
“We were invited to the White House to learn about what other TechHire communities were doing to bridge the talent gap in their states and cities and to share regional best practices and recipes for success,” said Sofia Stolberg, CEO of both entities.
“We not only validated many of our current strategies to bridge the tech divide, but with this new network and the support of the TechHire team, we are confident we will be able to continue scaling our efforts,” she said.
For the past year, Piloto 151 and Codetrotters, alongside their community partners, have been working to help employers find outstanding tech talent and job seekers start successful technical careers.
As part of the TechHire Initiative, Puerto Rico and its tech community leaders are now positioned to double down on their efforts and ramp up both the training and the placement.
The TechHire Initiative is a nationwide movement which was launched by President Obama in 2015 to help underrepresented job seekers start careers in the high paying technology sector.
TechHire helps communities across America by supporting accelerated tech training providers in their efforts to engage employers, seek funding and create multi-sectorial partnerships that result in more robust tech talent pipelines, standardized hiring practices and more jobs.
Present at the White House TechHire Summit were more than 100 leaders from all over the United States including employers like Cisco and GE, numerous coding bootcamps, entrepreneurs, and municipal and government leaders.
Megan Smith, the Chief Technology Officer of the United States, delivered a keynote speech focused on the importance of making tech more inclusive and highlighting the success of initiatives that have been able to pave the way for minorities, women and underrepresented people to become a part of the tech economy.
“There’s an idea in our culture that there’s technical people and nontechnical people. We need to get rid of that,” said Smith. “With the advent of accelerated coder training programs, anybody, regardless of their background, can learn how to code in as little as three months.”
In Puerto Rico, Piloto 151 and Codetrotters have trained close to 100 students, most without prior technical backgrounds, in their 10-week, part-time courses. The Puerto Rico community has pledged to place 100 students in technical positions in 2017.
The Department of Economic Development and Commerce, along with more than a dozen organizations and employers, including the Puerto Rico IT Cluster, the Science and Technology Research Trust, Grupo Guayacán, the San Juan Tech Meetup, Parallel18, HackPR, Rocksolid Technologies, Wovenware, Hewlett Packard Entreprises Puerto Rico and Truenorth Corporation are some of the partners participating in these efforts.
“TechHire’s #100kby2020 campaign will bring together organizations and individuals across the country to fill our open tech jobs” said Tess Posner, Managing Director of TechHire at Opportunity@Work,
“The growth and success of TechHire will come from local leaders, employers, innovative training programs, and community-based organizations that collaborate to expand their local tech sectors and create pathways to the middle class for local talent,” Posner said.