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Photo courtesy of WhiteHouse.govEight California Community Colleges are leading a regional effort to help high school and college students prepare for jobs in high-tech as part of a nationwide program sponsored by the White House.


Known as the Los Angeles High Impact Information Technology, Entertainment-Entrepreneurship, and Communication Hubs (LA HI-TECH), several Los Angeles-area colleges—including six within the Los Angeles Community College District, as well as Pasadena Community College, Santa Monica College and California State University-Dominguez Hills—are working with the newly launched TechHire initiative to provide more workers with the education and skills needed to get higher paying technology-oriented jobs.

TechHire, announced in early March, is an H-1B grant competition by the Department of Labor that provides $100 million in new investments to train and employ low-skill individuals who have barriers to training and employment. These include people with child care responsibilities, people with disabilities, disconnected youth, and limited English proficient workers, among others. The grant supports scaling up of evidence-based strategies, such as accelerated learning, work-based learning, and Registered Apprenticeships.

To kick off TechHire, 20 regional “work communities” across the country—with over 120,000 open technology jobs and more than 300 employer partners with workforce needs—are announcing plans to work together on new ways to recruit and place job applicants based on their actual skills and to create more fast-track tech training opportunities. President Barack Obama is challenging other communities across the country to follow their lead.

LA HI-TECH is one of these work communities. The regional consortium makes it possible for 4,000 high school and community college students to acquire the skills needed for education and employment in these sectors, which are critical to the Los Angeles-area economy. Together they aim to create a more technically skilled workforce and strengthen the local technology ecosystem. LA HI-TECH is funded by the California Career Pathways Trust and includes eight community colleges and 16 high schools, and charters multiple agencies and 100 employers.

Building on the promising work already underway in their communities, they are all committed to three actions:

  • Using data and innovative hiring practices to expand openness to non-traditional hiring
  • Expanding models for training that prepare students in months, not years
  • Active local leadership to connect people to jobs with hiring on-ramp programs

For a fact sheet on TechHire, please visit the White House press office.

George Lorenzo is a TechEDge contributing writer, and editor and publisher of
The SOURCE on Community College Issues, Trends & Strategies.
George is also president of Lorenzo Associates Inc., a content development service for higher education.