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Skills initiative between USF, Revature seeks to grow a tech-savvy workforce

Revature trainer Genesis Bonds, seated at the front of the classroom, listens as Wezley Singleton, standing, talks with fellow coders-in-training about a group project being done as part of the company's 12-week software engineering development program. RICHARD DANIELSON  |  Times
Revature trainer Genesis Bonds, seated at the front of the classroom, listens as Wezley Singleton, standing, talks with fellow coders-in-training about a group project being done as part of the company's 12-week software engineering development program. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times
Published Jan. 26, 2018

TAMPA — The Tampa Bay area needs a deeper pool of technology talent, so on Friday the University of South Florida announced it is expanding a public-private partnership to help graduates get specialized training for careers in software engineering.

Over the past year, Revature, a company based in Reston, Va., has placed nearly 150 recent college graduates in coding jobs after putting them through a 12-week course at a training center it established at USF in Tampa.

Over the next two years, Revature plans to hire, train and place 1,300 new software engineers.

"There is a skills gap in our Tampa Bay region," said USF system president Judy Genshaft, citing a recent report on the metro area's economic competitiveness from the nonprofit Tampa Bay Partnership. To fill it, "we need more and more of these kinds of partnerships."

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Revature, which hires and provides housing for the participants going through its program, estimates that it will put $20 million into the Tampa Bay area during the two-year initiative. Corporations looking to hire employees with coding skills pay Revature to provide the technical training and people skills.

That said, there's no guarantee program participants trained in Tampa will stay in the region. Going in, they agree to relocate, depending on where the jobs are. Two USF alums who went through the course, 2016 computer science graduate Richard Wingert and 2014 public health graduate Jessica Kline, ended up in jobs with JP Morgan in New Jersey and Boeing in southern California, respectively.

Still, Revature's corporate clients with a presence in the bay area include WellCare and Accenture. Though USF expects a lot of its graduates to go through the program, the program will be open to recent graduates from throughout Florida's university system.

Salaries vary by location, but average $45,000 to $65,000 a year, Revature chief marketing officer Joe Vacca said, and the benefits of the expansion won't end with the graduates and their new employers.

"It will attract new companies to the region," he said, "by providing something that is truly rare in this country: a predictable access to technology talent."

Contact Richard Danielson at rdanielson@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times