Students were issued dog tags. They used an original, comic book-styled text. From their classroom in a previously vacant storefront at Tampa’s University Mall, they studied core concepts needed for technology jobs.
In the end, some 10 students graduated in mid-July from the first USF-TechHire Technology Boot Camp taught by Clinton Daniel, an instructor in Business Analytics and Information Systems at the University of South Florida’s College of Business.
“The second Boot Camp starts the week after Labor Day,” Daniel says, adding they are working with Metropolitan Ministries to supply a place. “We still don’t have a permanent home. That makes it tough.”
After a rigorous 30-day program, the first graduates are being recognized August 30 at a TechHire talk slated from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at USF CONNECT Galleria.
“We’re taking a different tack,” says Kelley Sims, a spokeswoman for the organizers, !p Potential Unleashed, a multi-jurisdictional district in north Tampa.
The talks are part of a series of business community meetings intended to build a pipeline of tech talent in the Tampa Bay region, as part of a TechHire initiative launched by then-President Barack Obama in 2015. The program is intended to create jobs and facilitate business growth.
Ninety percent of the Boot Camp is hands on, with the balance being discussion, Daniel says. “My philosophy was if these folks are going to try to get a job, the employer most likely wants to know ‘what can you do’?” explains Daniel, who designed the curriculum and text, called Core Technical Manual.
Daniel relied on his military background to develop the practical training, presented in a non-threatening way. Students could opt to write code for their projects – or not.
Boot Camp graduates, who also could opt into a paid internship, for the most part had attended or graduated from college. “We thought maybe it would be a bunch of students that never went to college,” he acknowledges.
“Surprisingly enough, there’s a lot of people who have gone to college, and they can’t find jobs,” Daniel adds. “There’s just more demand out there for tech.”
Some 348 have enrolled in the area’s TechHire program, according to Michelle Schultz, Programs Director for CareerSource Tampa Bay and CareerSource Pinellas. Some 142 already have completed training.
In other tech news Dreamit, a top-10 ranked global accelerator and venture capital firm in New York City, has set up offices at CoWorkTampa in the historic Garcia & Vega Cigar Factory. Dreamit is preparing to launch its first UrbanTech accelerator program with eight to 10 companies in September.
The workspace will be used by out-of-town startups when they are in Tampa for parts of the program, says Andrew Ackerman, Dreamit’s Managing Director.
“Our aim is to put Tampa on the map for UrbanTech innovation and, more generally, establish it as the startup hub for the Southeast U.S,” he says.
Check out more tech-related news in Tampa Bay below.
• Nominations are open for the Technology Executive of the Year, the Technology Leader of the Year and the Emerging Technology Leader of the Year awards. The Tampa Bay Technology Forum is accepting nominations until 5 p.m. August 18 for these and other awards. You can even self-nominate. Get the scoop here.
• A weekend-long hackathon for the hospitality industry, Hack Hospitality, is scheduled August 25-27 at Station House / The Iron Yard in St. Petersburg. Teams will be working to solve real-life industry challenges – and competing for a $3,000 first-place prize. The event is being held by Startup Tampa Bay.
• Homebrew Hillsborough is touring the mobile cellphone business pioneer Syniverse at 8:30 a.m. August 25. Located at 8125 Highwoods Palm Way, Tampa, Syniverse has as customers more than 1,500 cellphone carriers, enterprises and ISPs from nearly 200 different countries.
• Kunal Jain, Founder and President of Practiceforces, is the featured speaker at USF Connect’s Innovation Frame of Healthcare Ventures program from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. August 31 at the Oak View Room, 3802 Spectrum Blvd., Tampa. The talk, which is free to attend, will focus on six things that affect new healthcare ventures: structure, financing, public policy, technology, consumers and accountability.
• Tampa Bay WaVE accepted 10 new companies in its latest cohort, for a total of 50 companies. The companies included Kaginger, Metasense Analytics, LLC, The SuperMom Box, Monikl, Script, MyCourtCase, Finly Tech, Farady Inc., Mahatma Technologies, and WhooshFly.
• Tampa Bay Innovation Center has announced its fiscal year results: 59 clients with 207 employees, and client revenues of nearly $10.5 million. Five trademarks and three patents were filed. Of the clients, 33 were involved with the incubator; the remaining 26 were co-working clients.