Community Planning & Economic Development

Phone: (612) 673-5095
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Mission: To close the workforce skills gap in the high tech economy by building a path for diverse workers to access training, support and tech jobs across the Greater Minneapolis Region.


  ► Ways to get involved
  ► Employer testimonials
  ► MSP TechHire FAQ for Employers (pdf)
  ► Contact us



  ► IT Labor Market Landscape
  ► Start your tech career 
  ► Support services for students
  ► Graduate stories
  ► MSP TechHire program flyer (pdf)

Should you require a reasonable accommodation in order to fully participate, or information in an alternative format, please contact 612-673-5001.
Para asistencia 612-673-2700 - Rau kev pab 612-673-2800 - Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500.

About MSP TechHire

In response to the rapid growth in tech jobs in the Minneapolis Saint Paul region, the City of Minneapolis along with three high-quality accelerated learning programs: PRIME Digital Academy, Creating IT Futures – IT Ready, and The Software Guild came together with 60 regional employers with the purpose of training and placing diverse workers into tech careers. The innovative work of this collaborative continued to gain momentum and in March of 2015 received national recognition when the President of the United States named the Minneapolis area one of the first TechHire regions in the nation. The initiative continues to grow with more than 369 employers engaged to date offering internships and employment opportunities for TechHire students and graduates. Follow MSP TechHire on social media using #MSPTechHire and #TechHire.

Outcomes to Date

In its pilot year, MSP TechHire has achieved the following:

IT Labor Market Landscape

Below is a snapshot of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul-Bloomington labor market demand for tech talent. These are the most demanded skills and occupations from September 2016.  Sources: Burning Glass Technologies

Open IT Occupations


Top Skills





Baseline Skills
Communication Skills

Team Work/Collaboration
Problem Solving


Software and Programming Skills
Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Office


Top Occupations




Top 5 Occupations
Software Developer/Engineer
Systems analyst
IT Project Manager
Network Engineer/Architect
Computer Support Specialist


Fastest Growing Occupations (2015-2020)
Computer and Information Systems Analysts
Computer and Information Systems Manager
Computer and Information Research Scientists
Information Security Analysts
Computer Programmers

Start Your Tech Career

There are more tech jobs than tech workers in the metro. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) predicts that there will be more than 200,000 tech jobs available in Minnesota in the next decade (not including health care tech jobs). One of them could be yours!

MSP TechHire prepares you for a job in tech by offering

The tech field is very diverse and the skills you learn will apply to different tech jobs. Below is information on the IT and Software/Developer tech pathways and the available MSP TechHire training options that will help you get started in these careers. 


IT Track


Software/Developer Track


Examples of Applicable Job Titles

Support Technician, Help Desk Support, Desktop Support,Configuration Technician, Service Desk Analyst [BLS Code = Computer User Support Specialist, 15-1151.00]


Developer/Engineer, Computer Programmer, Quality Assurance Engineer

Salary/Compensation Ranges

Median wages for this position are $49,766/year (Source). Entry level wages average $15.00/hour (Source: Creating IT Future Foundation) and half of all computer user support specialists pay within the range of $19.91 to 31.80/hour (Source).


Entry level candidates graduating from TechHire developer programs have typically seen starting salaries between $50K and $60K. With five years of experience there is a range of $71k to $136k with a $92,000 average (Source:

Top Employers

   • Best Buy
   • UnitedHealth Group
   • Technical Pro Incorporated
   • Hennepin County
   • U.S. Bancorp


   • UnitedHealth Group
   • Accenture
   • Target
   • U.S. Bancorp
   • Oracle (Source: Burning Glass Technologies)

Note: MSP TechHire graduates are often hired by smaller, local tech companies.

Paths for Advancement

An IT-Ready graduate can quickly move up the career ladder through the Service/Help Desk Career Pathway that begins with three tiers of Help Desk/Desktop Support and moves into analyst, technician, administrator and manager occupations. Starting as a Tier I help desk support professional, trainees can move to Tier II and then Tier III, or move laterally to Desktop Support Analyst or PC Technician. From there, trainees can become a Systems Administrator or a Manager of Technical Support Services. On the Network Administration Career Pathway, trainees can move up to Network Administrator and then a Network Manager. From these positions, they can move on to roles as Systems Security Administrators and Network Security Administrators with added training and certifications.


Software Developers can advance into positions such as Senior Software Engineers, Software Development Leads, and Software and Solution Architecture. Management tracks include Software Development Team Leads and Software Development Managers. Other paths include: Development Operations, Quality Assurance and Security, Interactive Project Management, Business Analysts, and Database Administration.

Expected Duties

Provide technical assistance to computer users. Install and troubleshoot hardware and software. Answer questions or resolve computer problems for clients in person, or via telephone or electronically. May provide assistance with printing, network connectivity, operating systems, and the use of computer hardware and software.


Design, installation, testing, maintenance and integration of software systems. Working with computer code to manipulate applications, websites and systems. Working with stakeholders and teammates to develop software to solve problems, automate workflows and support business goals.

“Day in the life”

As a computer user support specialist, you will constantly working with other people. In this role you help internal customers (co-workers) or external customers answering questions and fixing their computer problems. Most computer user support specialists work in an office environment, 40 hours per week, during a set shift. Computer user support specialists do not usually work face-to-face with the customer. They respond to telephone calls and email messages from customers looking for technical assistance. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are key to successfully troubleshooting problems. Every day and each interaction with a customer could be completely different, but the troubleshooting and communication aspects are the same. The computer user support specialist needs to listen carefully, ask clarifying questions, patiently walk customers through steps to resolve the problem, and document the resolution.


A software developer is the person responsible for picturing how the average person will access a website or application, and then develops or maintains code to create the best possible user experience. He or she needs to be creative and like problem solving in order to find solutions that are efficient, utilize the resources available, and stand the test of time. They are often asked to tackle problems without pre-defined solutions that require research and planning to solve. A developer is someone who likes to constantly learn new technologies in order to overcome project obstacles. Developers collaborate with designers, project managers, quality assurance engineers, and clients/stakeholders as well as work independently to develop software projects.

Demand/Job Outlook

BLS title Computer User Support Specialist (15-1151.00) is in high demand in the Twin Cities with 800 job postings in Q4 2015 – a 109% increase over the previous year. The State of Minnesota’s Occupations in Demand lists this occupation 26th in current demand (5/5 stars) and projected growth above average (Source) Job outlook is very good as the demand over the next 10 years is reported as high (5/5 Stars) by the State of MN. (Source).


Job outlook is very good as the demand over the next 10 years is reported as 5/5 Stars and ‘High’ by the State of MN –(Source)

MSP TechHire Programs Available


CITFF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to "connect the dots" to ensure that people get the training they need to be successful in career-track jobs in the IT industry. Formed in 1998 by CompTIA, the global IT trade association, CITFF brings the promise of well-paying IT jobs to those who are unemployed or underemployed with an emphasis on communities that are underrepresented in the IT workforce – including women, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans and veterans. CITFF provides trainees not only the IT skills, but the communication and business skills that can lead to lifetime careers. By providing access to IT jobs, CITFF is not only helping the IT industry grow and prosper – it is supporting the long-term health and welfare of underserved communities.


                          Prime Digital Academy
Prime Digital Academy is an 18-week accelerated learning program focused on helping people without professional technology backgrounds get up to speed for entry level positions in software development. Founded in Minnesota in collaboration with The Nerdery (one of the state’s fastest growing tech employers), Prime has quickly built a large employer network of over 100 Twin Cities companies who inform curriculum, mentor students and hire graduates from Prime. Shaped by these partners, Prime’s curriculum has an approach that seeks to balance technical skills with communication and collaboration skills to position graduates to be attractive candidates. Six weeks of Prime’s program is dedicated to project-based learning where students build experience by working on real-world projects for startups, nonprofits and social ventures based in Minnesota ensuring that they graduate Prime with work in their portfolio and references who can speak to their skills as a developer.

CFS Logo

Minnesota Computers for Schools is a nonprofit organization that provides technology access and skills training to individuals in need. Since the organization began in 1997, MCFS has placed more than 80,000 computers in the hands of individuals in need. As part of its CORE I.T. program, MCFS offers a variety of training programs designed to improve academic success and economic stability by teaching them digital literacy and in-demand technology skills. Programs range from 8 – 14 weeks and a variety of classes are offered including: Digital Foundations, to Cisco IT Essentials, CompTIA A+ and website design and development. The current class scheduled can be viewed here.


Software Guide Logo

The Software Guild has more than 300 companies in its employer network, a high job placement rate and master instructors with an average of more than ten years of industry experience. With more than 200 employers in our network, graduates have a 95% job placement rate within six months of graduation.

Students can choose from an intensive, full-time 12-week course or a part-time, 9-month online program. They can learn either .NET/C# or Java, two of the stacks in the highest demand at small and large companies alike in Minneapolis. Both the in-person and online program include instruction from teachers with more than 10 years of experience as well as a focus on hands-on application to build a strong portfolio. The alumni network helps graduates stay in touch and keep refining their skills even after graduation.


The Takoda Institute of Higher Education trains students for the occupation of computer support specialist. The program takes nine months to complete and tuition, books, and fees are fully covered by grants and scholarships for qualifying students. All students are provided with one-on-one assistance from a certified career counselor to secure an internship, develop a cover letter, résumé and LinkedIn profile, and search for jobs in their field and graduates enter the workforce making an average salary of $34,000 per year. The Takoda Institute offers numerous opportunities for continuing education and is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges and is a CompTIA Authorized Academy.
The Takoda Institute is conveniently located in South Minneapolis on the Blue Line light rail line, the Hiawatha Bike Trail, several bus routes, and has free onsite parking. Interested students can learn more at




Additional Tech Classes


Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) – MCTC’s Information Technology program prepares students to work in the ever-growing information technology arena. Students can earn A.A.S. Degrees in Computer Forensics, Software Development, and Computer Support and Network Administration; Diplomas to become a Software Developer, Mobile Developer in Android, Apple, and Microsoft, Computer Support and Network Administrator, and Information Assurance Professional; and Certificates as a developer in Java, Visual BASIC .NET, Visual C#, Open Source, network administrators in Cisco, Linux, Microsoft, Wireless, Database, Macintosh Support and Network, specialists in Database and Computer Security and a certificate in Information Technology Fundamentals.


Support Services for Students

MSP TechHire offers additional technology training options and a variety of supportive services for students interested in tech careers. 

Emerge Logo

EMERGEBased in North Minneapolis and Cedar Riverside, EMERGE helps people facing significant obstacles redefine themselves. Every year, we help thousands of adults and youth access jobs, financial coaching, supportive housing, and other key services, along pathways to brighter futures. We are committed to creating better jobs, better lives, and better community. EMERGE offers basic computer skills courses and IT courses in partnership with Minnesota Computers for Schools and Creating IT Futures Foundation.


Jewish Family and Children’s Service - Serving people of all backgrounds since 1910, JFCS works with each individual to develop a customized career and training plan in our IT Pathways program. Our services also include: career planning assessments and guidance, access to a variety of online technical and professional courses, Math for IT and Writing for IT classes to improve basic skills, customer service training and certification, job search assistance and coaching, resume and cover letter writing assistance, interview preparation, access to our Employer Breakfast and CAFÉ Networking series, and ongoing one-on-one support throughout the training and job search process.

Takoda Group Logo

Takoda Group is not-for-profit staffing firm that specializes in placing entry-level technology candidates into employment in their field. Individuals working with Takoda Group will receive one-on-one guidance from a certified career counselor who will assist with developing a cover letter, résumé and LinkedIn profile, practicing behavioral interviewing techniques, and connecting to positions in the field. Takoda Group has helped over 1,700 individuals obtain employment at hundreds of metro-area employers since its founding in 2012. The firm’s services are provided free-of-charge to candidates. More information can be found at

Support Services for Tech Companies

MHTA logo

Minnesota High Tech Association – The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) serves as a liaison and industry representative for Minnesota technology companies in the Twin Cities area and beyond. MHTA supports providing individuals with training and placement opportunities in the high-tech fields represented by our member companies.

TechHire Tuition Assistance

Minneapolis City Logo

Minneapolis Employment and Training – The City of Minneapolis has scholarship support available for women and minority students to attend MSP TechHire training programs. Please inquire with each program director or ask Jewish Family and Children’s Service for more information.

Graduate Stories

Jason Hernandez

Jason Hernandez
Jason’s career path has taken some twists and turns, most notably going from being a music teacher at a catholic school in Excelsior to a technical user support analyst at Medtronic. He was searching for a change of career when he saw an ad for IT-Ready -- a CompTIA A+ certification training program from the Creating IT Futures Foundation. He applied immediately.
Once accepted, Jason’s prior computer knowledge of recording software and gaming computers was challenged and expanded. He found the collaborative environment stimulating and helpful in preparing for the CompTIA A+ certification exam. He also appreciated how the program immersed its students in the professional realm by requiring business casual dress. IT-Ready’s additional focus on soft skills such as interviewing and public speaking were especially helpful. Upon graduation, Jason landed a job at Medtronic where he is constantly learning about new programs and is fixing everything from quick computer problems to software application errors.

Catabriea White

Catabriea White - PRIME Digital Academy
A mother of two from the small town of Ramsey, Minnesota, Catabriea White was unable to complete her college degree in biomedical engineering because she needed more time to care for her young family. Being a natural problem solver, critical thinker and learner, Catabriea refused to stop her education. A few years after her children were born, she discovered PRIME Digital Academy, an 18-week computer-programming course located in the Minneapolis metro area that can turn those with minimal computer knowledge into entry level software engineers. Although she found the tech industry intimidating at first, she applied to the program knowing the knowledge and opportunities it would bring her, including strong foundations in HTML/CSS, Javascript, AngularJS and Node.JS. Emphasizing career skills as well, the program has introduced her to many potential IT employers such as 3M, Target and Medtronic through apprenticeships, mentorships and hiring fairs. Once she completes PRIME, Catabriea will be a competitive candidate for many entry-level IT positions and earning far more with her desirable skill-set.

Victor Chege

Victor Chege - Creating IT Futures - IT Ready
New Service Desk Agent for the City of Minneapolis, Victor Chege is an immigrant from Kenya with an IT background. Upon arrival, he had a tough time getting into the IT industry in the US, and resorted to cleaning jobs to make ends meet. He decided to enroll in an IT training institute that went bankrupt mid-way through his training, and left the program without the money he had invested so far. Then he learned about the Creating IT Futures Foundation’s IT Ready program – a free, eight-week training program that offers the technical and professional skills that prepares individuals for a CompTIA A+ certification and a successful on ramp into the IT industry. Successful graduates are connected to employers for a 6-month paid work experience opportunity or full time employment. Alumni are also eligible for additional free online training and certifications. He thought it sounded too good to be true, but decided to apply. He was accepted into the program and graduated at the top of his class. Upon completion, he landed an IT Service Desk Agent job with the City of Minneapolis and is thrilled to be part of the team. Victor is already pursuing additional IT training and certifications.

Chelsea Okey

Chelsea Okey - PRIME Digital Academy 
Chelsea Okey is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and is a U.S. Army veteran. Seeking a career change, Chelsea debated going back to school for computer science but chose to attend PRIME Digital Academy, an 18-week computer programming course, because of the relevant skills she would learn in addition to its short length and affordability. Now a software engineer at the Minneapolis-based company SmartThings, she recognizes PRIME for preparing her for the fast pace of the tech industry and giving her a foot in the door to a career that fit her goals. While technology is an evolving industry, Chelsea states that more diversity is necessary to bring new ideas, and build stronger end-products. One of PRIME’s greatest benefits is the opportunity it gives those from non-technology backgrounds to be a part of the field.

Chad Rehm

Chad Rehm – The Software Guild
Chad Rehm was a Tool Designer looking to make a change to a more fulfilling career. He saw an exciting opportunity to enter the software development industry by completing a full-time, fully immersive, 12 week Web Development training course through the Software Guild. After further research, he knew this was just the program he was looking for to help him gain the necessary skills to successfully enter the software development industry as a junior software developer. Not only did Chad gain the relevant technical skills needed to attract potential employers, but was also given soft skills training through one-on-one resume reviews, mock interviews from top recruiters and multiple interviews with employers that were actively seeking to fill entry level software development positions. Chad was able to secure a great job as a Web Developer/Consultant for Kinetic Data in Saint Paul MN, within weeks of graduating. He found that the education and experiences he gained from the Software Guild prepared him with the confidence and skills needed to be a world class beginner.

Employers Testimonials

What are employers saying about their experience working with MSP TechHire training partners and having graduates as employees?

"Kaitlyn was fully capable of making a contribution on ‘day one!’ Our new hire is a pragmatic problem solver who is capable of leading projects, working in teams, and communicating well with both our staff and customers. The experiential learning and real-world projects provided during Kaitlyn’s training made the difference in our hiring decision. We hired based on this training, and not on a requisite college degree. We would recommend TechHire candidates to companies searching for top-tier talent!” - Tom O’Neill, President of the Nerdery.

“Prime teaches students how to think like a developer in ways that can't ever be taught in a traditional classroom. The methods of collaboration they learn is incredibly well aligned with a professional position and with those skills, they can quickly come up to speed on any technology they may appear 'light' in.” - Empulse “That this was a great experience and seeing so many folks truly interested in development because of what it allows them to do and how it allows them to solve problems is a refreshing change to the average 4-year program candidate.” -CRC Marketing Solutions“100% worth your time. It was one of the most positive recruiting experiences I've ever had - in any field, not just tech - and I'll be singing its praises and telling my friends (who are also on the prowl for solid development staff) about Prime.” - Mall of America

“The IT-Ready workers came in with some excellent technical training, as well as soft skills training that they need in order to quickly integrate into our company,” said Becky Ryan, senior manager, Enterprise Support Centers, HealthPartners. “After experiencing the success of IT-Ready graduates, it became clear that IT-Ready training was exactly what we are looking for in new entry-level hires. Not only are these employees technically trained, they have a wonderful attitude and are totally engaged in their work environment.”

“Our experience with IT-Ready grads has been very positive,” said Rachel Wittrock, human resources generalist, Virteva. “Since Virteva is a managed services provider, our new hires can face a steep learning curve. But because they’ve gone through the rigors of the IT-Ready program and certification process, graduates have already demonstrated an aptitude for the work, as well as the ability to quickly learn and assimilate new skills.”

“I was looking for candidates or potential training grounds for tech support candidates, and saw IT-Ready,” said Bryan Altman, chief operating officer. “I was thrilled to learn IT-Ready certifies both the technical and soft skills we are looking for. Because we're a relatively small company, we call on each team member to wear a lot of hats.”

Ways to Get Involved

To learn more about any of these options contact Tammy Dickinson from City of Minneapolis Employment and Training.

Last updated Apr 28, 2017



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