Local Tech Job Training

Context

I am an elected legislator in Carey, Ohio. This post has been adapted from a proposal that I brought to the Village Council in May 2020, which was ultimately not pursued due to financial considerations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am sharing bits of it here to serve as a reference point for a non-government backed version of a similarly shaped program.

Where the following proposal reads “the Village of Carey”, one can (and should) substitute “a community”. A government is not required for people to better the community in which they find themselves, and therefore such a program need not be supported by a government but instead can be supported by any community that so chooses.

Proposal

The Village of Carey should create, fund, and administer a program in which any person with an income tax obligation to the Village of Carey can have their costs for tuition and material covered if they enroll in, and successfully complete, a technical training course.

Background

For period from 2010 - 2018, Wyandot county had the highest recorded job growth rate in the state at 23% [1]. Counteracting this job growth is a steady decline in county population, -3%, for that same period [2]. There is also a projected -11% population growth rate for the period of 2010 - 2040 [2]. Given these trends, there is an increased focus on helping the underemployed and removing barriers to entering the local workforce. One way in which the Village of Carey can have a measurable impact on both of these focus areas is by encouraging remote employees of technology companies to live and work in the village.

Financials

As of the 2000 census, the median household income in the Village of Carey was $33116/year[3]. We know that the current median household income in the Village of Carey is less than or equal to $45000/year because of the loan terms that it qualified for to finance the construction of the wastewater treatment plant. According to Indeed, the average salary for an entry level software engineer in the state of Ohio is $67235[4].

This means, that on average, the expected difference in salary for a citizen who completes this program and is placed in an entry level software engineering role would be an increase of $34119/year. This implies that the Village of Carey would expect to see an increase of on average $511/year in income tax revenue from that citizen due to having a 1.5% income tax.

The sticker price for one year of access to all courses on OneMonth.com is $299. This price is presumably open to negotiation, and OneMonth has already shown some appetite for offering a discount in casual conversations that the author has had with their team.

This has the implication that the Village would break even on this program in a single year if only half of the program’s participants were successful.

There may end up being other ancillary costs, such as office supplies and sundry supplies that the program participants may need for their workshops. However, the assumption is that workshop space and many of these other items will likely be donated by the community. The Village already has funds marked for economic development efforts, and this pro- gram would seemingly qualify to be covered by that account.

Course Selection

Since 2014, JavaScript has been the top language used by open-source repositories hosted on Github[5]. JavaScript is the primary language for building web applications, and is increasingly being used to construct mobile applications. By learning JavaScript, program participants will implicitly learn about HTML and CSS as well.

Program Structure

The following is a first attempt at structuring the program in a self-sustaining way.

Informational Session

A clear description of the program should be placed in the local newspapers, and an informal informational session should be held for interested parties to ask questions and receive an overview of the program.

Application Period

For a period of two weeks, any interested eligible person may apply to be in the pilot. The applications are to be turned in to the Village Administrator, who will review applications with the program’s operating committee.

Program Selection

Participants in the pilot program will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Technical aptitude
  • Personal mission statement
  • Availability compatible with other program participants

Registration Workshop

A workshop session in which program participants for the pilot program each individually register for the selected course(s) on OneMonth.com.

(Bi-)Weekly Workshop Sessions

The weekly or bi-weekly workshops in which program participants get in-person (either live or via video chat) help from mentors and complete coursework from the selected course(s). These workshops will be held at a location with sufficient network bandwidth, grounded electrical sockets, and seating for the program participants.

Reimbursement

After the successful completion of a course, program participants will be reimbursed any contracted fees. This would include any Ohio TechCred reimbursements for course mate- rials in addition to any reimbursement from the Village of Carey.

Job Search Assistance

After the successful completion of a course, program participants will receive coaching on resume construction, and will work with the selected recruiting firm to find and apply to relevant job openings.

Successful program participants will work with the selected recruiting firm to help find an apply to relevant job openings. The positions that applicants apply for should ensure that program participants continue to have an income tax obligation to the Village of Carey.

Post-Completion Mentoring

While completing their job search, program participants will be expected to serve as a mentor for at least 3 (bi-)weekly workshops for the following program participant cohort.

In addition to past program participants fulfilling their mentorship obligations, community members with appropriate skill and interest may serve as volunteer mentors and help unblock program participants during (bi-)weekly workshops.

Post-Program Projects

After the successful completion of a course, program participants may desire to continue practicing their skills, build out a professional portfolio, and help their community. They can do this by working in small teams on various civic technology projects such as the brainstormed list that follows.

Carey 311 app

A way for citizens to report issues such as potholes, downed limbs, dangerous sidewalks, etc.

Tree mapping app

A way for citizens to catalogue and adopt trees in the right-of-ways and village parks.

Village data portal

A https://data.gov type web portal for all datasets that the village maintains or generates.

Village document portal

A web portal for easily searching and retrieving any public record from the Village of Carey.

Example timeline

2020-05-04 Initial presentation to Council.
2020-05-18 Discussion of updated proposal addressing any initial feedback.
2020-05-19 Begin formalizing any pricing discounts with OneMonth.
2020-05-26 Public informational session
2020-05-26 Application period opens
2020-06-09 Application period closes
2020-06-12 Accepted Session #1 applicants are notified
2020-06-15 Session #1 begins with a Registration Workshop
2020-06-15 Session #1 weekly/bi-weekly workshop sessions begin meeting
2020-06-29 Session #2 application period opens
2020-07-13 Session #1 ends
2020-07-13 Session #2 application period closes
2020-07-17 Accepted Session #2 applicants are notified
2020-07-20 Session #2 begins

References

[1] A. DeMartini, “Rural job growth rate in ohio surpasses columbus rate,” May 2020
[2] A. Huston, “County shows largest job growth in state,” The Progressor Times, p. 3A, Nov 2019.
[3] Assorted, “Carey ohio wikipedia,” May 2020.
[4] Indeed, “Entry level software engineer,” May 2020.
[5] Github Inc., [“]The state of the octoverse,”](https://octoverse.github.com/#top-languages) September 2019.