SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. /Califonria Newswire/ — Mayor Edwin M. Lee today launched TechSF to train and reskill San Francisco residents for the City’s growing number of technology and IT jobs, announcing a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Technical Skills Training Grants program to jumpstart funding for the City’s major new workforce training initiative. Mayor Lee was joined at the announcement at Year Up Bay Area by members of the Board of Supervisors, U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Office and partners from technology companies and workforce training organizations.

“Ensuring San Francisco residents have the skills and training they need to work in our City’s growing number of high tech jobs is a cornerstone of our economic strategies and critical to making sure our economic recovery reaches every neighborhood of our City,” said Mayor Lee. “This major grant from the Department of Labor for our TechSF initiative will bring City residents, technology companies and our workforce training partners together to train and reskill our residents to ‘win the future’ for San Francisco, in the words of President Obama. I want to thank the President, Secretary Solis and Leader Pelosi for strengthening public-private partnerships and investing in workforce training for our residents so that they can get the good jobs so many of our tech companies are creating right here in San Francisco today.”

“Securing this grant and investing in TechSF will train San Franciscans for the jobs of tomorrow; spur our fast-growing IT industry; strengthen and create new career and educational pathways for San Francisco’s workforce; and meet the needs of entrepreneurs and businesses large and small,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “With this grant, we can put more people to work in high-growth, high-tech occupations, and we can ensure unemployed San Franciscans have the skills and background necessary to secure and keep good-paying jobs.”

“The federal grant awards announced today will provide U.S. workers with the training they need to succeed in the high tech, high-growth jobs of the future,” said U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. “Developing a strong and vibrant workforce that fits the needs of American businesses is critical to forming an America built to last.”

In San Francisco, the TechSF grant will serve local jobseekers that are currently underrepresented in the IT sector, especially the long-term unemployed. In addition to providing education, training and job placement assistance, the grant will enhance sector partnerships, create new pathways to high-wage and high-growth careers, and integrate San Francisco’s education, training and industry efforts in the local Information Technology sector.

The San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) partnered with WestEd, IBM, AT&T, City College of San Francisco and a consortium of San Francisco-based employers and community-based organizations to apply for this grant to create the TechSF Initiative to raise the technical skill of San Francisco workers.

The TechSF initiative is based on a highly successful program model, which includes building career pathways and training for in-demand skills in the rapidly changing technology industry. The partnership targets two groups of workers. One target group is local workers seeking jobs in the technology sector, at least 75 percent of whom will have been unemployed for longer than six months. The project intends to train and place more than 300 workers in this category into positions paying $25 – $50 per hour. The project’s employer consortium will help recruit participants, provide internship and work experience opportunities, and interview and hire participants who successfully complete the program.

The other target group is more than 1,400 employees in the San Francisco offices of IBM and AT&T who need training to remain competitive in their current jobs and advance into more highly skilled positions. Employees trained through this program currently earn an average hourly wage of $28 -$60 per hour. The TechSF initiative will result in 97 percent of all participants earning an industry recognized credential or degree, and 93 percent working in IT jobs after they complete training.

WestEd will serve as the project manager partner for this grant. WestEd is a national non-partisan, not-for-profit agency headquartered in San Francisco. Since 1966, WestEd has developed research, products, and policy for improving learning and human development.

“This workforce development project addresses the real needs of many San Franciscans,” said WestEd CEO Glen Harvey. “We’re proud and excited to collaborate with such innovative partners to increase career education opportunity in our community.”

Other companies participating in the grant program and initial TechSF initiative include AT&T, IBM Corporation, Riverbed Technology, Sega, CBS Interactive, UCSF Medical Center, Artisan Creative, CAL Insurance, The Exploratorium, Responsys, MicroMenders, Mozilla, Send Me, and Atlassian.

“The tech community in San Francisco is proud to play a leading role in making sure City residents get the skills and training they need to move into the City’s growing number of tech jobs, and this grant is a real boost to our collective efforts,” said Chair of the San Francisco Citizens Initiative for Technology & Innovation ( and Special Partner of SV Angel Ron Conway. “ is looking forward to a continued partnership with Mayor Lee and the City’s TechSF initiative to create good jobs and focused IT training programs to employ City residents.”

Creating apprenticeships and job training initiatives – whether for young people coming out of high school and college or for those in need of reskilling in the middle of their careers – are critical parts of Mayor Lee’s 17-Point Economic Plan for Good Jobs & Opportunity for San Francisco.