An employer initiative in Springfield to train students for careers in information technology will receive the 2017 John Gould Education and Workforce Development Award, AIM announced today.
Tech Foundry, founded in 2013, has trained more than 100 people ranging from high school students to older workers – many from underserved and at-risk populations – to meet the accelerating demand for qualified IT workers in western Massachusetts.
AIM will present the Gould Award at its Annual Meeting on May 5 at the Westin Waterfront hotel in Boston. Governor Charlie Baker will keynote the event, which will also include presentation of AIM Vision Awards to Fidelity Investments, Bright Horizons Family Solutions and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Tech Foundry translates open IT positions from employers into a list of specific and quantifiable skills that can be taught and measured. Volunteers from businesses take the time to help teach the specific skills that matter most to them in candidates.
“We provide a comprehensive IT training curriculum that prepares our students for an entry-level job in IT, using skills ranging from hardware repair, network administration, programming, help desk, data analytics and many others,” said Tech Foundry’s Director of Strategic Partnerships Jonathan Edwards.
AIM’s Blueprint for the Next Century long-term economic plan for Massachusetts identifies the hiring and retention of qualified employees as the primary challenge facing the Bay State economy. AIM President and Chief Executive Officer Richard C. Lord said Tech Foundry is helping employers meet that challenge while creating economic opportunity for people with outstanding potential.
“Tech Foundry has been flexible and practical and that’s why it has posted a 65 percent placement rate for IT jobs. The organization is a worthy recipient of the John Gould Award,” Lord said.
Employers, including AIM-members such as Baystate Health, have been impressed with the Tech Foundry graduates.
"When I see a resume from someone who graduated from Tech Foundry, I know they have the necessary skills to succeed in an entry-level IT job at Baystate," IT Director Patrick Streck said at a celebration of Tech Foundry’s third anniversary in February.
State officials, including Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, have also taken notice.
“It looked like there was a work force here. If you had dropped me in here blindfolded I would have thought I was in an IT department somewhere,” Ash said following a recent visit to the organizations Springfield headquarters.
The Gould Award was established in 1998 to recognize the contributions of individuals, employers, and institutions to the quality of public education and to the advancement, employability, and productivity of residents of the Commonwealth.
In 2000, the award was named after John Gould, upon his retirement as President and CEO of AIM, to recognize his work to improve the quality of public education and workforce training in Massachusetts.
Past recipients of the Gould Award include; the late Jack Rennie, Chairman and Founder of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, Middlesex Community College, Gordon Lankton, President and CEO (retired), NYPRO Inc., William Edgerly, Chairman Emeritus, State Street Corporation, Northeastern University, The Davis Family Foundation, Intel Massachusetts, EMC Corporation, IBM, David Driscoll Commissioner (Retired) Massachusetts Department of Education, State Street Corporation and Year UP Boston, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Brockton High School, Manufacturing Advancement Center – MACWIC Program, Christo Rey Boston High School, CVS and Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission and Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries.