How the Nashville Technology Council plans to use a state grant to boost region’s IT workforce

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MP&F client Nashville Technology Council has received an $850,000 grant from the governor’s office as part of the Labor Education Alignment Program, part three of Gov. Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative. Read the full story, which ran in the Dec. 17 issue of the Nashville Business Journal, below.

The Nashville Technology Council has landed an $850,000 grant from the governor’s office, money that council CEO Bryan Huddleston says will be used to foster collaboration between businesses and local colleges and to develop a home-grown pipeline of technical talent in Middle Tennessee.

NTC-3-2 (2) (2)The grant is part of the Labor Education Alignment Program, the third component of Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative. Funded by a $10 million appropriation by the General Assembly, the governor’s workforce subcabinet selected 12 partnering agencies and higher education institutions to receive state money for workforce development.

The technology council was selected in partnership with Nashville State Community College, although Huddleston said Volunteer State and Columbia State community colleges also will be involved in its efforts.

The program is “being driven from [technology council] membership,” area businesses that are eager to help fill the Middle Tennessee skills gap when it comes to IT workers, Huddleston said.

Huddleston said his group’s plans for how to spend the money have three primary components: promote information about jobs available in the workforce, foster long-term relationships between educational institutions and businesses, and create an apprenticeship and intern program that will place students from higher education institutions in local businesses.

The technology council already has nearly 300 paid internships over a two-year period at member businesses lined up for interested students, Huddleston said, a sign of the “overwhelming” response from members in support of this effort.

“This is one of the number one things we hear [from members],” Huddleston said. “‘How do we have access to talent?'”

Beyond offering internships, members businesses also are ready to engage with institutions and conduct outreach into secondary school systems — which also have been supportive of the council’s efforts to land the grant, Huddleston said.

Click here for more information and a list of the state’s other grant recipients.

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