(photo courtesy of Eleven Fifty Academy)

TechPoint, the state initiative to grow Indiana’s technology ecosystem, has received a $750,000 gift from Microsoft Philanthropies to help upskill career-changing adults who want to enter the tech workforce. The nonprofit says the funding will allow it help guide adults towards skills-focused training, as opposed to a traditional college degree.

“Indiana must meet our sector’s growing demand for new tech workers with greater participation from traditionally underrepresented groups, particularly from a gender and racial diversity perspective,” said TechPoint President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Langellier. “This funding will help us reach our goal of exponentially growing the Indiana tech workforce in an inclusive way by helping people get the skills they need to step into tech careers that can dramatically improve their lives, and the lives of their families.”

TechPoint says it is working to increase the understanding of job-skills terminology, job competencies and the hiring process, between educators and job trainers.

It says some job descriptions could be altered to take a skills-based approach to ensure job prospects understand which proven job skills are sufficient to replace traditional degree and/or certification requirements or preferences.

“For people seeking to be doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, lawyers or plumbers, the pathways, certifications and skills required are clear, as are the education prerequisites and training specifications,” said Dennis Trinkle, TechPoint’s executive vice president for talent pathways and programs. “That’s not true for occupations in tech, despite many of them being the fastest growing and highest paying occupations in our economy. With this funding, and continued collaboration from key stakeholders, we can fix that.”

TechPoint says nearly 185,000 Hoosiers work in the Indiana tech sector, which has increased more than 16% since 2010. Still, it says the sector needs even more workers.