Puerto Rico Accepted into National White House TechHire Initiative
SAN JUAN— Puerto Rico has been accepted as one of 19 communities under TechHire, a nationwide, community-based program that helps underrepresented job seekers start careers in the technology industry, it was announced Thursday. The initiative, which was launched from the White House by President Obama in 2015, is powered by Opportunity@Work, a nonprofit.
Puerto Rico will be joining a national network of 70 TechHire communities in receiving support to spearhead efforts to help overlooked and underrepresented U.S. citizens into starting technology careers, read a press release.
The island’s designation as a TechHire Community was made possible due to a joint multi-sector effort to support new career development initiatives and focused on creating 100 new full time positions in 2017. Leading the way from the government sector was the Department of Economic Development, which supported leading private-sector partner Piloto 151 and Codetrotters Academy, a shared workspace and coding school based in Old San Juan.
Sofia Stolberg, CEO of Piloto 151 and Codetrotters, said the designation demonstrates the progress that Puerto Rico has made in the past several years building a stronger tech talent pool and ecosystem. “The TechHire initiative will enable us to become better at bridging the tech talent gap on the Island, identifying the needs of employers and continuing to train in the highest in-demand skills and programming languages,” she said.
More than a dozen organizations and employers also helped coordinate efforts, including the Puerto Rico IT Cluster, the Science and Technology Research Trust, Grupo Guayacán, the San Juan Tech Meetup, Parallel18, HackPR, Rocksolid Technologies, Wovenware, and Migo IQ, among many others.
All TechHire communities go through an intensive and competitive application process to demonstrate their level of commitment and readiness in expanding the technology sector.
“We are very pleased to welcome Puerto Rico to the TechHire Initiative,” said Tess Posner, Managing Director of TechHire at Opportunity@Work, Puerto Rico has demonstrated a true commitment to making opportunities in tech more inclusive in your community, and we at Opportunity@Work look forward to working with you to help implement, grow, and amplify your efforts.”
Launched as a pilot public-private with 21 communities, TechHire has grown to over 50 communities, 1200 employers, over 400 community partners and training providers. In one year, TechHire enabled 2,300 job placements in communities around the country.
The other 19 communities that will join the National TechHire Initiative in Thursday’s announcement include: Alachua and Bradford Counties, FL; Anchorage, AK; Arizona; Carroll County, MD; Central Florida; El Paso County, TX; Bellevue, WA; Boston, MA; Howard County, MD; Mobile, AL; Oklahoma City, OK; Omaha, NE; Pensacola, FL; Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico; Stamford, CT; Tampa Bay Metro Region, FL; Toledo, OH; Trenton City, NJ, and Tulsa, OK.