The program was created as a component of a larger Tallahassee TechHire Initiative and focuses on rapidly training workers to enter high-paying tech jobs in North Florida.
I/O Avenue will begin taking students in the fall and will be operated in the computer labs of FAMU’s Workforce Computing Center.
To keep pace with rapidly evolving market demands, academy students will learn front- and back-end web development in a project-based environment that encourages hands-on learning and collaboration.
According to Larry Robinson, Ph.D., FAMU’s interim president, the initiative is consistent with the University’s goals outlined in its newly proposed strategic plan, which will be presented for approval next month to the Board of Trustees.
Among those goals are increasing the number of students graduating from programs in areas of high employer demand; increasing the percentage of students completing high-impact co-curricular experiences; expanding cutting-edge research and creative scholarship; and enhancing community engagement.
Robinson explained that the collaboration also provides an opportunity for FAMU and the Tallahassee community to work together to respond to the need for a more diverse technology workforce. FAMU’s nationally-recognized STEM programs, faculty, and students offer the diversity and talent pool that are needed to sustain the tech industry in Tallahassee, the state and the nation.
“FAMU is excited about the skills and opportunities that I/O Avenue will provide to our students and to members of the community,” said Robinson. “These engagements make Tallahassee a better community, and make FAMU a stronger university.”
After announcing the initiative during an innovation and industry tour in Nashville, Tennessee in partnership with the Tallahassee Chamber, Ryan Kopinsky, I/O Avenue’s director, said the program will work with area employers to place graduates in open technology jobs.
“Hundreds of tech jobs go unfilled every year in Tallahassee,” said Kopinsky. “If we are really going to create a thriving innovation ecosystem, we need to match local talent to local jobs.”
Academy content will be delivered in 12-week-long, part-time courses, and will include 12-18 students per cohort. The program will offer two specific tracks. The first will focus on training and securing jobs for underrepresented and economically challenged communities with no prior tech background, and the second will focus on providing enhanced training for workers and students from STEM fields that are looking to refine their skills to meet local job market demands.
“As Tallahassee continues to develop a new economy, it is increasingly important that our local workers have the skills necessary to enter the hundreds of high-paying jobs in our tech sector,” said Gillum. “This program will empower and train citizens that are hoping to pursue new career opportunities, while enhancing the local tech talent we have available for the growth of our local businesses.”