Politics

In his first visit to Louisville while in office, President Obama on Thursday evening announced a new federal initiative called TechHire.

The initiative provides federal grants to cities that want to create programs like Code Louisville—an online coding course that’s open to anyone with a library card.

Obama said he wants other cities to replicate Louisville’s efforts to make technology jobs more accessible to its residents.

“The network that has been developed here in Louisville are helping to prepare people for the higher paying, in-demand jobs of the future,” he said.

Obama said about half a million tech jobs remain unfilled because there are not enough people with the skills to fill them.

His visit to Louisville was an effort to bring light to a federal grant program that will help cities train more people for tech jobs.

The president praised Louisville officials for their efforts to make these jobs more accessible to the city’s residents.

Obama told a group of supporters and employees at Indatus on Main Street that Louisville has about 2,000 vacant information technology positions. He said it’s mostly because there aren’t enough people with tech skills to fill them.

Indatus is a data technology downtown that is among a handful of companies committed to hiring people who finish Code Louisville, a local online coding workshop.

Code Louisville—which involves city government, local businesses and grants from the federal government—is a proven way to close that gap, the president said.

“And my administration is proud to be investing in Code Louisville because we want more places to follow Kentucky’s example,” Obama said.

In an effort to replicate Code Louisville throughout the country, the White House is offering $100 million in grants to cities interested in training their residents for the tech industry.