By Morgan Eichensehr
October 21, 2020
Baltimore City and workforce development organization Baltimore Corps are partnering with a local software firm to build a pipeline of skilled technology talent for the city.
The city announced October 21, the launch of a new Technology and Software Development Fellowship program in partnership with Catalyte, which specializes in identifying and training individuals from diverse backgrounds who demonstrate an aptitude for software development. The goal of the program is to train more Baltimore-area residents in software skills, and ultimately, to create a workforce pipeline for city agencies that need tech talent, like Baltimore City Information & Technology (BCIT) and the Baltimore City Health Department.
Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young touted the partnership as “one of many investments” the city is making in the long-term health and economic wellbeing of Baltimore. In addition to creating a path to lucrative tech jobs for more Baltimoreans, the program will also help improve city agencies’ tech capabilities by providing well trained, hirable fellows, he said.
Catalyte’s CEO Jacob Hsu said the fellowship involves a customized 26-week training program conducted by his firm, that he says is essentially equivalent to a two-year computer science degree. Fellowship candidates must have a high school diploma or GED, and must complete an online screening before being accepted to the program. No background, training or experience in software development or technology skills is necessary.
An initial cohort of 12 fellows have already been trained and deployed in roles in BCIT and the health department. Hsu said Catalyte is already looking for participants for additional cohorts. Ultimately, he hopes to be able to train “dozens, if not hundreds” of fellows through this program.
“At Catalyte, we believe exceptional talent is hidden in plain site. We have all the talent we need already here,” Hsu said. “With this model, we are building a pipeline of permanent talent to work on mission-critical technology problems for the city.”
Hsu noted that the fellowship model could also save the city money, and prevent the need to outsource when it needs IT help or new tech tools. For what it typically costs to hire one IT consultant, Catalyte can produce four or five fellows, he said.
Catalyte believes this fellowship model could be successfully expanded into other cities throughout the U.S., as well as at the state and federal levels.
“This program is a real investment in people,” Hsu said. “I hope that more people realize they probably have this potential and have these abilities. We’re proving that every day.”
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Source: Baltimore Business Journal