Mayor Greg Fischer announced the launch of LouTechWorks, an initiative to boost Louisville’s efforts to rapidly expand its tech talent pipeline in collaboration with education, nonprofit and employer partners.
“To compete – and win – in the economy of the future, Louisville must greatly expand the number of technology jobs and radically scale our training platform, in partnership with employers, education partners and others,” Mayor Fischer said. “Today, we take the first step in doing that by launching LouTechWorks.”
As part of LouTechWorks, Jefferson County Public Schools will teach students digital literacy starting as early as kindergarten, introduce an Applied Digital Skills Curriculum in middle school and provide high school students access to technology career pathways through Academies of Louisville. Six regional institutions of higher education also have committed to expand their technology education offerings and grow the number of students participating in various technology degree programs and certifications. Those higher education partners are Bellarmine University, Jefferson Community and Technical College, Indiana University Southeast, Ivy Tech Community College, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Louisville.
Today, Louisville has about 79 percent of the technology jobs it should have for a city of its size, and the economy of the future is going to require significantly more jobs in software development, artificial intelligence, and data analytics. This initiative seeks to meet those demands.
In order to get to 100 percent, we need to quintuple the city’s projected technology job growth over the next few years. That means maximizing the local technology talent pipeline and ensuring people are getting the digital literacy and training they need to be competitive and obtain technology jobs, which pay well, are growing fast, and are less susceptible to automation.
In creating LouTechWorks, the city worked with partners from K-12 to short-term training providers to two-year and four-year higher education institutions to maximize the local talent pipeline as much as possible. By increasing the output of trained technology workers, Louisville can fill more open technology jobs and begin to create a positive feedback loop that creates additional technology jobs through increased business attraction, existing business expansion, and new start-ups. Achieving these goals will create a foundation for a more prosperous city in an increasingly technology-oriented world.
The LouTechWorks complements other recent technology announcements, including the creation of the Center for Digital Transformation at the University of Louisville and the Tech Louisville program, a KentuckianaWorks and AMPED partnership that will allow residents in the city’s lowest-income neighborhoods to enter family-supporting IT careers. Tech Louisville was made possible when Louisville won a highly competitive JP Morgan Chase grant as part of its inaugural AdvancingCities Challenge.
The LouTechWorks will also build upon the success of Code Louisville, which has now trained 1,200 Louisvillians for technology jobs, and the recently launched Bit502 apprenticeship being piloted with Appriss, El Toro, GE Appliances, QSR Automations, Texas Roadhouse, and Waystar.
These efforts are just the beginning.
“One critical piece of this puzzle is state funding, and Kentucky is moving in the wrong direction. While most states began to re-invest in themselves as the economy recovered from the Great Recession, Kentucky was one of five states to cut higher education funding last year,” the Mayor said. “Until we as a Commonwealth begin to invest in our common future, we cannot expect to achieve better outcomes. We need serious funding for technology in higher education.”
Businesses also must join in the effort by creating cooperative or internship programs at their companies to help students learn on the job, by getting involved in the Louisville Tech Alliance and by hiring graduates.
Find out more about LouTechWorks by visiting https://loutechworks.org.