White House Adds San Jose to ‘TechHire City’ Initiative

The White House has enlisted San Jose into a nationwide initiative to equip jobless residents with the skills for higher-paying jobs in Silicon Valley. 

Named a “TechHire City’’ on Tuesday, San Jose was one of 10 municipalities recognized for creating pathways to well-paying tech jobs that meet the demands of a growing market. To date, 31 cities have been now been incorporated into the TechHire initiative—including San Francisco and Oakland—so the inclusion could be considered a bit overdue for the "Capital of Silicon Valley."

President Obama launched the TechHire initiative this past spring as a way to address the skills gap in tech and manufacturing. The U.S. Department of Labor has projected a shortage of one million trained tech workers by 2020.

Participating cities qualify for $100 million in federal grants to target women, minorities and youth—a demographic woefully underrepresented in Silicon Valley. San Jose has already secured $1.2 million for skilled job training.

The city will implement TechHire programs through existing nonprofits and agencies, including work2future, YearUp, #YesWeCode, Santa Clara County Opportunity Youth Partnership and Foothill College. Training will focus on jobs in user-interface design, coding, web development and network administration in tech, manufacturing and healthcare.

San Jose will also team up with the private sector, channeling trained workers into jobs at Cisco, Facebook, Jabil Circuit, eBay, PayPal, Kaiser Permanente, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, LinkedIn, Symantec, SYNNEX Corporation and Technology Credit Union, among others. The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce, Santa Clara County Office of Education and The Tech Museum of Innovation have also committed their support.

The announcement came on a day when the White House hosted an event focused on inclusive entrepreneurship, which will be live-streamed online. The event featured the following two South Bay-based companies.

Via WhiteHouse.gov:

After a car accident left her blind for 11 years, Ramona Pierson founded a company to build a new kind of search engine (Ramona Pierson, Palo Alto)

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Ramona Pierson, founder of Declara.

In 1984, at age 22, Ramona Pierson was hit by a drunk driver. The car tore her body apart, slicing open her throat, gouging her chest, and leaving her heart and lungs fully exposed. Pierson was in a coma for 18 months. She was totally blind for 11 years, though she has regained partial sight in her left eye thanks to a corneal transplant. It was the process of having to learn just about everything from scratch – including how to breathe and walk – that made her realize how important it was to be a lifelong learner. And it's that notion that inspired her to start Declara. Declara has developed a ways for people to learn in more personalized ways, through advanced semantic search and predictive analysis. In three years, Declara has grown to 65 employees, and attracted $32.5 million in funding. Pierson also serves as a mentor for LGBT entrepreneurs.

Cancer survivor founds company to connect patients and improve care delivery (Tatyana Kanzaveli & Maksim Tsvetovat, Los Altos)

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 11.55.52 AM

Open Health Network founders Tatyana Kanzaveli and Maksim Tsvetovat.

After being diagnosed with colon cancer in 2013, Tatyana Kanzaveli decided to found a company that could help others. The security of having access to coverage under the Affordable Care Act helped her make the decision to start her own company. Open Health Network is a smart mobile health platform that helps healthcare organizations, researchers, and patient advocate groups create cutting-edge mobile applications that run on any device and in any language in a day without coding. Application modules include patient surveys, social networking, wearable device integration, and other customizable modules.


  1. “The Government is not the solution to the problem , it is the problem”.

    “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”
    Ronald Reagan.

    If you take the money from this guy, watch out for the rat trap on the bottom of the pile!
    Empty Gun

  2. Eliminate the minimum wage laws, and the problem will fix itself.

    Also, I note that the bus drivers for Apple and Google have now unionized. And they are demanding $27/hr — to drive a frickin’ BUS! But at the same time, schools for severely disabled adults who can’t drive, or even take care of themselves, cannot get bus drivers because those same companies are currently paying their *unskilled* drivers $20 and hour (the drivers for disabled adults are paid $10/hr., so they migrate to Aple and Google.) The high tech companies that cause the problem don’t even respond to calls or emails.

    Thanx, Gov Moonbeam. You’re gonna spend more than $100 BILLION on a choo-choo train to nowhere — but you won’t support minimal services for severly disabled adults.

    (That would be a juicy story for a real reporter — if there are any of those still around. Check with Wilson School in Santa Clara. Find out for yourself about the bus driver problem. Ask for Barbara S.)

  3. This (from the White House Press Release)…

    — “the Department of Labor to support innovative approaches to training and successfully employing low-skill individuals with barriers to training and employment including those with child care responsibilities, people with disabilities, disconnected youth, and limited English proficient workers, among others.” —

    qualifies as great news for foreign high-tech firms and the worst for American citizens in need of baby sitters, dog walkers, day laborers, and handbill distributors.

  4. The PC crowd has its collective panties in a bunch about the relative lack of women and minorities in high tech. The high tech companies are tripping all over themselves to right this egregious wrong. Now the WH is weighing in, and the PC crowd is squealing in delight. Trouble is, there are relatively few female engineering college graduates, and the minority communities have a huge high school dropout rate. So where’s the magic wand to create this new pool of women and minority high tech geeks? That’s what it’s going to take to solve this manufactured “problem.”

    • Its called dumb it down with dead wood. I worked for one of those companies it went PC and out of business.

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