A new federal designation for Bellevue will bring financial aid to students who want to learn coding skills at Bellevue College.
The city of Bellevue has been chosen to join a federal government program that opens the doors to money and outreach that can help low-income residents go to college and learn technical skills.
The federal program is called TechHire, and the city will work with Bellevue College and a private company, Coding Dojo, to help people in the area get training that can lead to high-paying jobs.
Being designated a TechHire community will allow the city to apply for federal grants for coding classes for low-income people, and to do outreach to those underserved communities, said City Councilwoman Lynne Robinson.
Expedia and Microsoft are partnering with the city on the program, she said, and two other Eastside tech companies are expected to join the effort.
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“If somebody is capable of learning the programming skills to work at one of those companies, the TechHire initiative will facilitate their hiring,” Robinson said.
Some coding courses are currently being offered by Coding Dojo through Bellevue College. But because they’re considered continuing education, federal financial aid is not available.
The city is working with several agencies, including Congregations for the Homeless, an Eastside nonprofit working to end homelessness. “They feel they already have individuals in a year-round homeless shelter who would qualify for this, and are very good at it,” Robinson said.
The TechHire initiative is run by the U.S. Department of Labor, which is providing $150 million in funding nationwide for public-private partnerships such as this one.
Seattle has also been designated a TechHire city. That designation allowed the Washington Technology Industry Alliance to begin an apprenticeship program that trains people for technology jobs and helps place them. In all, the White House has designated 71 cities across the country as TechHire communities.