At a time when many in the Detroit area are looking for work, one school is offering an intensive training course in a field with thousands of available local jobs.
The 18-week Software Engineering Boot Camp is a pilot program from the Wayne County Community College District and the tech company Global IT Consultancy Infosys Ltd. Organizers say it will prepare students for entry-level software engineer positions.
"This partnership is an opportunity to build strong career pathways in an important and growing sector of Wayne County's economy," WCCCD Chancellor Dr. Curtis L. Ivery said in a statement.
U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit) assisted with the partnership, he said, as one of many efforts to create financial security for his constituents. Clarke said part of what spurred the plan was a job fair he cohosted with the Congressional Black Caucus at WCCCD last year, where he saw many people out of a job and eager to do whatever necessary to find new work.
"It's clear there's a lot of people looking for work who are qualified to get training," Clarke told HuffPost. "My goal is to get the people trained for the jobs so we dont have to hire people from out of state."
Not only is the IT sector growing in metro Detroit, but there's a lack of applicants for open jobs. A job fair hosted by the Detroit Engineering Society Monday drew just 650 people for more than 3,000 positions, according to the Detroit News.
Through both public initiatives and private partnerships, Clarke plans to implement a range of job-training programs in growing fields, starting with IT and moving on to manufacturing.
The boot camp program echoes President Barack Obama's proposal last month to include $8 billion for a "Community College to Career" fund in the 2013 federal budget that would train 2 million workers for jobs in health care, transportation and advanced manufacturing.
The Detroit pilot program is already filled with 100 local job-seekers. Organizers hope it will be successful enough for subsequent "boot camps" to spring up to fill available positions.
"This is the start of a big effort to retrain metro Detroiters for the new jobs that are in high demand," Clarke explained. "My vision is that employers will look at metro Detroit as a training city for the country."