Could the tech jobs of the future be filled by the skilled trades workers of the present?
According to one of the state’s foremost leaders in the tech sector the answer is a resounding yes.
In an interview with ClearObject Chief Executive Officer John McDonald, he was quick to point out that the Indianapolis area alone currently has over 1,000 jobs open in the tech industry, specifically for "coders and people who can do data analytics."
McDonald says that number is only going to grow.
"We already have a deficit of talent and it is only going to get worse."
Which could make the newly minted Kenzie Academy a key cog in Indiana’s workforce development efforts. The Indianapolis-based coding school, which was founded by tech entrepreneurs with experience in Silicone Valley, opened its doors last month. Kenzie offers six month to two year programs with a paid tech apprenticeship after six months.
"The things we look for are attitude and aptitude. We’re not looking for people who have had prior experience in this field before.," said Michael Cammarano, head of curriculum for Kenzie Academy. "We can take people who have gone down a different path in life but have now finally realized that ‘hey, this might be right for me.’"
"I think what the Kenzie Academy is doing is an incredibly important part of the overall tapestry of getting those jobs filled and making sure that this new economy can be rooted right here in Indiana," said McDonald.
McDonald added that building Indiana’s tech workforce is not going to be done by those with four year college degrees.
"It is going to have to be done by people as well who are in other career jobs that are going to be re-trained. They are going to be people like truck drivers, cooks, or electricians, or plumbers,” said McDonald. “In some ways, what we’re talking about here with coding and data analytics is like the new electrician, the new plumber of the new economy."