'Tech Hire Initiative' at work in Minneapolis as jobs bud

After years of being a stay-at home-mom, Jeanne Erickson Cooley is reinventing herself.

"I've discovered that tech is my calling, I love coding," she said.

Lines of code are computer instructions that make it possible to create those popular apps and websites, but with an undergraduate focus in American studies, learning a lot, but not the skills she needed, she decided to enroll at Prime Digital Academy, a brand new technology school in Bloomington, started by the founders of custom software company the Nerdery. It's an intense, 18-week crash course in computer programming where students learn at home and in the classroom.

She hopes to end up at a tech giant like 3M, one of 41 companies partnering with the fledgling school, bringing a proven network and instant credibility. President and co-founder Mark Hurlburt is hoping to develop a direct pipeline of homegrown talent to fill thousands of technology jobs in the state and across the country that remain vacant.

"The big issue is that there aren't people who are job ready in the market right now," Hurlburt said.

That's why the White House just announced the Tech Hire Initiative, a public and private partnership to push more Americans on the fast track to tech careers. Minneapolis is one of the partner cities because of programs already in place like Prime Academy, Concordia University Boot Camp, and IT-Ready.

Minneapolis employment and training program director Deb Bahr-Helgen believes these programs can also help raise a diverse talent pool, and even fill tech jobs in the city.

"So we're really hoping this spurs on more economic activity by having an available and trained workforce," she said.

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