Growing the Technology Talent Pool in Detroit

At the White House Insourcing Jobs forum earlier this year,  CEO Tim Bryan of GalaxE Solutions shared his story about bringing Information Technology (IT) jobs back to the United States through its "Outsource to Detroit" campaign and its commitment to hire 500 IT professionals in Detroit. GalaxE has already hired 120 employees and is looking to hire hundreds more. "We have established Detroit as a competitive hub," Bryan said, "and from a price standpoint we are on a par with the offshore destinations and from a quality standpoint we are winning."

Currently, there are over 3,000 job openings in metropolitan Detroit. Large companies like Quicken Loans and Compuware, in addition to scores of startups, are laying the foundation for an IT ecosystem in Detroit. To provide high quality, leading edge IT solutions to their customers, these IT companies require highly skilled employees. So in an approach that can serve as a model for other cities, OSTP and other Administration offices have been working together with public- and private-sector partners to strengthen Detroit’s technically trained workforce.

Working through the Administration’s "Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2)" initiative, the effort took off with the launch of "Make in Detroit", a comprehensive effort to spur innovation in Detroit’s manufacturing sectorand spark economic growth.To help provide the core workforce to support this transformation, we worked with local officials, employers, and educational institutions and ultimately helped foster a relationship between Infosys—a global IT leader in India—and the Wayne County Community College District (WCCCD).

Together those two launched a "Software Boot Camp" to provide on-the-ground technical skills tailored to the needs of the city’s burgeoning IT sector. Fully 100 students—including a significant number of displaced workers from other sectors—are now enrolled in the fast-track 18-week software training course, getting prepared to fill these critical IT jobs—jobs that are rewarding, pay well, and offer security.Moreover, Infosys has committed to training a team at WCCCD to conduct the next round of programs to enroll even more students.

An iconic American city with a resurgent automotive sector, Detroit is now poised to become a national destination for the IT sector.  Several local employers have said they are eager to participate in a job fair at the conclusion of the IT boot camp. It’s a great example of making it in America.

Sridhar Kota is Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at OSTP and an ASME Fellow

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