University Area Partnership to Receive $3.8M Federal Grant to Train Young/Underskilled Workers for Future Technology Jobs

June 29, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. / The Federal Government has awarded Tampa one of 39 TechHire Partnership Grants across the nation. The $3.8 million grant is a major boost to the innovation district in the University area allowing for programming and training specifically for technology jobs. The grant was a result of a partnership between CareerSource Tampa Bay, University Area Community Development Corporation, Hillsborough County, Tampa Bay Technology Forum and the Tampa Innovation Alliance. U.S. Congresswoman Cathy Castor championed the effort.

“There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together,” said Mark Sharpe, President and CEO, Tampa Innovation Alliance. “We applaud Congresswoman Castor’s leadership in winning the TechHire grant and are committed to making sure that all our citizens can participate in the tech economy.”

Vice President Joe Biden and Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez announced the release of the competitive grants as part of the White House’s TechHire Initiative. As the North Tampa area continues to evolve with a focus on becoming an innovation district, this grant will serve as a roadmap to higher-wage, middle-class jobs for current residents.

“Our hard-fought federal investment in jobs aims to recruit more than 1,000 young adults and low-wage workers in Tampa and the surrounding area, with a goal of preparing them for well-paying jobs in information technology and health care,” said Congresswoman Castor. “The Tampa Bay area would not have been competitive without so many of our partners like the University of South Florida and a number of local employers and employer coalitions such as the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, Cognizant, and Celestar Holdings Corporation.”

Partners will work to develop programming and training. Education and training providers, including the University of South Florida, will allow participants to earn various credentials including certificates and associate degrees in customized programs.

“The Tampa Bay TechHire program will expand local technology related job training programs by focusing on accelerated training for youth and young adults with barriers to accessing employment,” said Ed Peachey, President and CEO of CareerSource Tampa Bay. “The program will also train incumbent workers for advancement in critical high-growth IT and Healthcare occupations. The partnership with Tampa Innovation Alliance, IBM, BayCare, and other local companies provides the foundation for long-term sustainable employment.”

Recognizing that many tech jobs do not require a four-year-degree and that tech talent is often cited as an issue for companies, the Federal Government launched TechHire in March of 2015. The initiative is designed to build economic development through growth of technology jobs.

“This grant is a huge win for the residents of the University area community and will be the answer to many families struggling with unemployment and underemployment,” said Sarah Combs, Executive Director & CEO of University Area Community Development Corporation. “The University Area CDC is thrilled to be a part of this collaborative to focus on bringing job training opportunities to provide residents the fastest paths to good-paying jobs.”

More than 150 businesses supported the grant application through their membership in the Tampa Innovation Alliance and the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, with several large corporations such as IBM, BayCare Health System and Celestar Holdings submitting letters of support, putting their companies on record for interest and excitement to hire the graduates of these programs.
About the Tampa Innovation Alliance
The Tampa Innovation Alliance is a multi-jurisdictional district anchored by globally-recognized institutions such as USF, Busch Gardens, Moffitt Cancer Center, Florida Hospital, and RD Management. These institutions drive economic activity, engaging tens of thousands of students, educators, health care workers, patients, and four million tourists annually. The Alliance is set to build an engaged community recognized as an innovation destination.