Tech Hire Nebraska Aims to Revitalize IT Talent Pool

binary code in blue and blackFrom sports writer to teacher to restaurant manager, many Nebraskans have taken on the challenge of switching their career from the aforementioned paths to an IT position.

Why switch to Information Technology? Well, one recent survey showed that IT careers top the list of industries offering the highest compensation and most number of jobs to fresh graduates, with business process outsourcing and IT jobs consistently in demand on most job websites. IT jobs also made it onto Glassdoor’s list of the 25 Best Paying Jobs in America. Software development manager, for example, is the fourth-highest paying U.S. job, with a median base salary of $132,000.

Hence, people like Jason A., a previous sportswriter, have increasingly turned to education and changed their trajectory to information technology by working at companies like Nebraska’s Xpanxion: “After growing up in the agricultural industry, I earned my bachelor’s degree in journalism and began a career in sports media. When I decided to pursue a different career path a few years later, I came knocking on Xpanxion’s door with an unrelated background, but the will to learn. I was given the opportunity, and haven’t looked back since.”

Xpanxion, a high-quality software, business intelligence, and e-marketing company, opened the Kearney office in 2000 and has continued to expand in Nebraska four separate times, making the Nebraska location Xpanxion’s largest onshore office. The company is also part of a partnership between Nebraska, Buffalo County, the City of Kearney, Xpanxion, and Invest Nebraska called Tech Hire Nebraska, an initiative to connect people without IT experience to jobs at local partner companies, where they’ll work on software development and quality assurance analysis.

While you’d think that applicants for these positions would be a dime a dozen, that simply isn’t the case. “The education system is not churning out enough of those workers,” said Dan Hoffman, interim CEO of the nonprofit venture development organization Invest Nebraska and a member of the Tech Hire steering committee, to the Journal-Star.

Here’s why the program is pretty awesome:

  • It’s designed specifically to target those without an IT background, particularly those who have not had the opportunity to pursue a professional career. So, those with low income, the long-term unemployed, people with dependents and children, and anyone without formal education are all able to apply for the Tech Hire program.
  • The 12-week program pays participants a full-time stipend of $15 per hour while they learn and essentially guarantees them a job in IT upon completion. While the stipend may be a pay cut for some, participants universally agree that the program is worth it to have better pay later on.
  • The program has dreams of completely changing Nebraska’s tech landscape, aiming to train at least 400 workers in Nebraska by the end of 2020.

If you aren’t happy in your current position, or simply have dreams of making more money and living comfortably, think about information technology as a possible route to success. We’re so fortunate to have such an incredible program here in Nebraska, and we hope that some of you will take advantage of the opportunity!

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