City teams with Austin Technology Council on tech jobs initiative

Oct 9, 2014
Austin Business Journal

The city of Austin has agreed to contribute $295,000 to the Austin Technology Council to fund programs designed to mitigate the shortage of local technology workers

The money is expected to fund the formation of the Austin Technology Partnership, which in turn would enable the ATC to hire four additional staff people focused on training local tech workers. The partnership’s total annual budget is $775,000, ATC CEO Julie Huls said

The two-year agreement is important because it provides a measure of “connectivity” between the city and its technology community instead of the two working in silos. “This partnership is a departure from that,” she said. “This is unprecedented to my knowledge.”

The ATC considers the program’s first 12 months to be a test, Huls said

The nonprofit ATC, which was founded in 1992 as the Austin Software Council, changed its name in 2002. It initially served all local tech companies but changed its focus three years ago to target C-level executives and training. It now claims 250 member companies with 60,000 employees

The city of Austin already contributes $68,000 annually to the ATC, said David Colligan, the city’s manager of global business recruitment and expansion

In October 2013, the ATC revealed that, during the summer, it rejected a proposal by the Austin Chamber of Commerce to become the organization’s technology arm

The merger was proposed in mid-May 2013 after the Chamber’s previous vice president of technology, Susan Davenport, departed for a job in Florida. Although the two groups have similar goals of promoting and supporting local tech companies, a different focus led the ATC board to vote against a change and remain separate from the Chamber after a 90-day review process, Huls said

The Chamber has since announced plans to centralize support of Austin startups with an initiative it’s calling Innovate Austin

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