San Francisco Mayor Launches TechSF Initiative

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[Techtaffy Newsdesk]

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee launched TechSF to train and reskill San Francisco residents for technology and IT jobs, announcing a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Technical Skills Training Grants program.  Mayor Lee was joined at the announcement at Year Up Bay Area by members of the Board of Supervisors, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Office and partners from technology companies and workforce training organizations.

“Ensuring San Francisco residents have the skills and training they need to work in our City’s growing number of high tech jobs is a cornerstone of our economic strategies and critical to making sure our economic recovery reaches every neighborhood of our City,” said Mayor Lee.

The TechSF grant will serve local jobseekers that are currently underrepresented in the IT sector, especially the long-term unemployed. In addition to providing education, training and job placement assistance, the grant will enhance sector partnerships, create new pathways to high-wage and high-growth careers, and integrate San Francisco’s education, training and industry efforts in the local Information Technology sector.

The San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) partnered with WestEd, IBM, AT&T, City College of San Francisco and a consortium of San Francisco-based employers and community-based organizations to apply for this grant.

The TechSF initiative is based on a program model, which includes building career pathways and training for in-demand skills. The partnership targets two groups of workers. One target group is local workers seeking jobs in the technology sector, at least 75 percent of whom will have been unemployed for longer than six months. The project intends to train and place more than 300 workers in this category into positions paying $25 – $50 per hour. The project’s employer consortium will help recruit participants, provide internship and work experience opportunities, and interview and hire participants who successfully complete the program.

The other target group is more than 1,400 employees in the San Francisco offices of IBM and AT&T who need training to remain competitive in their current jobs and advance into more highly skilled positions. Employees trained through this program currently earn an average hourly wage of $28 -$60 per hour. The TechSF initiative will result in 97 percent of all participants earning an industry recognized credential or degree, and 93 percent working in IT jobs after they complete training.

WestEd will serve as the project manager partner for this grant. WestEd is a national non-partisan, not-for-profit agency headquartered in San Francisco. Since 1966, WestEd has developed research, products, and policy for improving learning and human development.

Other companies participating in the grant program and initial TechSF initiative include AT&T, IBM Corporation, Riverbed Technology, Sega, CBS Interactive, UCSF Medical Center, Artisan Creative, CAL Insurance, The Exploratorium, Responsys, MicroMenders, Mozilla, Send Me, salesforce.com and Atlassian.

“The tech community in San Francisco is proud to play a leading role in making sure City residents get the skills and training they need to move into the City’s growing number of tech jobs, and this grant is a real boost to our collective efforts,” said Chair of the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology & Innovation (sf.citi) and Special Partner of SV Angel Ron Conway. “sf.citi is looking forward to a continued partnership with Mayor Lee and the City’s TechSF initiative to create good jobs and focused IT training programs to employ City residents.”