TechHire showcases success stories in Kansas City

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By TAYLER DONALDSON
(KANSAS CITY, Mo., digitalBURG) – I attended a roundtable meeting June 29 to discuss the TechHire initiative in Kansas City hosted by Think Big Partners and led by the U.S. deputy secretary of labor, Chris Lu.
Google Fiber, the Full Employment Council, and Kansas City Startup Village were just some of the organizations that attended. I sat in the back with the interns and press in a room of about 40 people circling the table.
One attendant was Tobias Lofton who was a lab technician before being laid off in late 2015. “After I was laid off I didn’t know what to do. I decided to go to the FEC, and I then received training from the University of Central Missouri,” Lofton said. “I started my internship at Code Koalas and was offered a full-time position a few months later.”
President Obama launched the TechHire Initiative in 2015, a campaign to “expand local tech sectors by building talent pipelines in communities across the country.” Essentially it is an initiative to train people, and get them internships in the technology profession. Obama pledged $100 million in federal grant funding and more than 300 employers signed on to provide technical training.
Lu discussed how successful the first year was.
“TechHire grants spur innovation in places like Kansas City to create jobs of today and tomorrow,” he said. “There is something happening here in Kansas City that people are recognizing.” He seemed to genuinely care about the TechHire Initiative, and was impressed by the way Kansas City companies have been working with the FEC.
There was also a discussion for ways to improve TechHire. Lu said older adults need training to get them hired as well and not just kids out of high school or college. He said we need to continue to create a culture of learning to keep up with today’s technology.
I was very lucky to attend this event as it was an eye-opening experience. Kansas City’s participation in the TechHire initiative is inspiring, and so was getting a chance to meet some of the success stories that came out of it.
“We’re off to an amazing start, I can’t wait to see how this year goes and how many people are trained and offered jobs,” said Carson Oldson, an employee of a partnered company.

Tayler Donaldson is a senior digital media production major at the University of Central Missouri and a creative intern for Code Koalas.