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TechHire Program In Milwaukee Kicks Off

Program Aims To Train, Employ People In IT-Based Jobs

Lake Michigan shoreline in Milwaukee
Thomas Hawk (CC-BY-NC)

Milwaukee’s effort to get more people hired in the IT field kicked off this week with 15 students participating in TechHire’s first 10-week session held at the city’s TechForce center.

The TechHire Initiative is a program that began under President Barack Obama. The program recognizes cities working with hundreds employers to train and employ people in IT-based jobs.

Ricardo Ybarra, with Employ Milwaukee — which helps run the program along with the city of Milwaukee — said TechHire is meant for people who face multiple challenges entering the world of IT.

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“We’re looking to help populations who have not traditionally been represented in IT professions,” Ybarra said. “So we’re looking at unrepresented populations, getting them connected to training and then also moving one step beyond that and getting them connected to those employment opportunities.”

There are more than 2,000 IT positions open in Milwaukee, and the program seeks to place 150 city residents in tech jobs by the end of 2017 and 600 people by 2020.

Ybarra said it’s important the city stays ahead of the curve when it comes to training people in the IT field.

“Understanding that tech is needed to compete globally, and to make sure that we here in Milwaukee are able to attract and retain global talent and global companies, we needed to be on the cutting edge of this,” he said.

The program provides training to participants to gain the skills needed for the IT field. People who finish the program are then connected to paid internships, apprenticeships, and full-time jobs, according to the TechHire website.