The White House recently launched the TechHire initiative to help empower Americans with the technical skills they need to meet urgent employer demands. And, in July, Lynchburg, Virginia was designated as one of the nation's TechHire communities - joining cities like Chattanooga, Denver, Louisville, San Francisco and Detroit.
Several local employers, including BWXT, Delta Star, TRAX, LLC, and NovaTech are involved in the initiative to improve workforce development programs. The initiative includes traditional and nontraditional educational channels and training modules that equip workers with valuable skills in just months instead of years.
One local group of software developers, SharpTop Company, will launch Lynchburg's first nanodegree program this fall: SharpTop.IO. Lynchburg citizens of various ages and coding abilities will be able to access classes on nights and weekends to diversify their skillsets. The course is hands-on and led by experienced software developers.
According to the Bureau of Labor, software developers are high in demand. In fact, employment of developers is expected to rise by 22 percent between 2012 and 2022. Developers typically hold a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, but, in some cases, experience and the ability to express a high level of aptitude are more important to employers than formal degrees. SharpTop's nanodegree programs will allow those as young as recent high school graduates to gauge their interest in programming before applying for post-secondary, while giving adults the opportunity to pursue a new career path or strengthen their skillset.