By Kailyn Lamb, Marketing Content Writer and Editor, PYA
A program through the Greater Nashville Tech Council (NTC) is aiming to give underemployed people in Middle Tennessee a new career path in technology.
“Go Tech” was launched in March 2020, before the start of the pandemic. At the time, there was very little unemployment in Nashville, said Sandi Hoff, Chief of Staff at the NTC. She said that finding the right talent is often a pain point for employers, and the Council wanted to do what it could to help build the number of tech workers available. The long-term goals of the program were to partner with middle and high schools to get kids interested in tech careers early on.
At launch, Hoff said they were looking at underemployed people or those who may have been unhappy in their current careers that also had an aptitude for tech. She estimated this group made up around 35-40 percent of workers in Middle Tennessee. She also said tech jobs pay around 96 percent higher than the average salary in the area.
“That’s really where our focus started,” Hoff said. “Tech education can be seen as the great equalizer.”
The NTC works with more than 70 community organizations that help the NTC find potential participants for the “Go Tech “program, said Susan Charest, Community Director for the Council. The NTC vets each applicant with a series of interviews to discern if they have the aptitude for tech and the stamina for this intensive bootcamp program.
The current educational partners in the “Go Tech” program are Nashville State Community College and Volunteer State Community College with each bootcamp using Nashville Software School’s instructors.
While the program is focused on building tech skills quickly, it also provides participants with an opportunity.
“One of the things that’s unique about this program is the partnership with the community colleges,” Charest said. “Upon successful completion of the Go Tech Program, each graduate receives nine hours of college credit to work towards an Associate of Applied Science.
The program itself, Charest said, is a 19-week IT Infrastructure Support Professional course that uses the CompTIA eLearning platform. At the end of the program, participants have the skills required to be a Computer Support Specialist. Each can earn CompTIA certifications in A+, Network+, and Linux+.
Like so many classroom programs during the pandemic, Charest said that they pivoted to a virtual platform back in March 2020. After receiving feedback from the applicants during the vetting process, NTC switched the program from full-time to part-time in January 2021. This allowed students to maintain their full-time employment and drop into Go Tech’s virtual class at night. After making this switch, Charest said NTC saw an increase in the number of people applying for the program.
The cost of the program is covered by funds from the “Governor’s Investment in Vocational Education (GIVE) Act.”
Hoff said they have been getting positive feedback from the companies that hired Go Tech participants. In addition, all the companies that have hired graduates of the Go Tech program have returned to hire more participants.
Go Tech is currently taking applications for a summer cohort. Click here to apply.