Following a successful pilot in partnership with Baltimore City, software firm Catalyte is spinning out a new entity around its recently launched workforce retraining platform.
Catalyte launched RetrainAmerica last spring in response to the economic impacts of Covid-19, and specifically the spiking unemployment numbers nationwide. The software-focused workforce development firm designed the platform to help connect millions of out-of-work citizens with training opportunities for the kinds of jobs that will outlast the pandemic — like those in the technology, cybersecurity, logistics and health care sectors — even if they have no prior experience in those fields. Catalyte CEO Jacob Hsu said although his firm will continue to support RetrainAmerica with funding and training services, the platform will operate as a separate business with an independent board starting this spring.
RetrainAmerica builds on Catalyte’s existing thesis that workers with varying skill sets can be “retrained” to fill in-demand tech roles. The Baltimore-based company has identified, retrained and employed hundreds of skilled software engineers through various sites across the country.
The decision to spin out the RetrainAmerica effort as an independent 501(c)3 organization follows on a pilot program through which Catalyte partnered with workforce development organization Baltimore Corps to train and place local residents in need of new jobs in technical fellowship positions with various city agencies, such as Baltimore City Information & Technology (BCIT) and the Baltimore City Health Department. The fellowship pilot involved a customized 26-week training program conducted by Catalyte, which the company has said is essentially equivalent to a two-year computer science degree. The program accepted an initial cohort of about a dozen fellows with no prior background or experience in software development. The fellows were trained and deployed in roles in BCIT and the health department to work on full-time tech projects.
An advisory board will be assembled to lead RetrainAmerica’s efforts as it moves forward independently, Harris said. The board will likely be made up of business leaders from Baltimore, as the organization looks to scale locally to start, then expand throughout Maryland and to other states in the region. Hsu noted several other Maryland jurisdictions have already indicated an interest in replicating the Baltimore pilot.
RetrainAmerica’s board will also be tasked with setting up a marketplace of job opportunities, through which employers can post job training and apprenticeship opportunities and be connected with residents willing to train for new positions.
Local employers that have already come on as partners of the RetrainAmerica initiative include CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and Brown Advisory.
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Source: Baltimore Business Journal