Tech Talent South is a coding bootcamp located in evolving high-growth technology hubs including Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; Raleigh, NC; Asheville, NC; New Orleans, LA; Dallas, TX; Phoenix, AZ; San Antonio, TX; Wilmington, NC; Winston-Salem, NC; Columbus, OH—and now Hartford, CT, as Tech Talent Connecticut.
Innovation Destination Hartford Website Curator Nan Price met with Sean Peterson, Digital Product Manager at Tech Talent South and Ellen Last, Community Organizer at Tech Talent Connecticut, to find out why the organization chose to have a presence in Hartford and how it plans to support our tech community.
NAN PRICE: Why Hartford?
SEAN PETERSON: Beyond being a tech education company that teaches skills and coding, Tech Talent South values the tech community side of things—connecting with innovators, companies, entrepreneurs, co-working spaces, and accelerators. A lot of entrepreneurs come to our programs and want to get connected to tech communities in their cities.
Some background about “Why Hartford?” Former Governor Malloy was encouraging Connecticut to grow its tech ecosystem and support the tech workforce. The state set up a Tech Talent Fund and was looking for organizations to help support that initiative. Connecticut is providing funding administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD). Through that initiative, Tech Talent South set up in Hartford.
ELLEN LAST: Part of what brought us to Hartford is the technology workforce, which is growing rapidly. Because Hartford is a relatively small city, there’s a lot of opportunity to get to know the entire ecosystem well and build strong, collaborative relationships.
That’s our current focus, getting to know these communities and figuring out how we can support them—whether it’s a company hiring local talent or a Meetup group of developers or experienced professionals that wants to share knowledge and skills. We want to help people succeed.
NAN: How can Tech Talent Connecticut help?
SEAN: One way is through our Tech Talent Select program, where we partner with large companies that want to grow their tech teams and are interested in investing in their communities. They partner with us to create a specific program that’s aligned with their goals.
We also run a variety of courses and workshops to help with everything from learning basic or advanced coding to data analytics to web design and game development.
NAN: How are you connecting with organizations and entrepreneurs in the community?
SEAN: In communities like Hartford, everyone is so excited to support one another. We’ve been going to events, like when I met you at reSET, and finding individuals who are also motivated to grow our community and are already big players. A lot of the connections have been through introduction to introduction. Through that, we’ve been learning a lot about the work other groups are doing and how we can support that.
ELLEN: That’s our biggest goal here—plugging into and finding out how to support the community. There are already amazing initiatives at play. We provide a unique new opportunity in terms of the types of classes we can offer.
We’re doing a lot of outreach/grassroots-type of marketing and we also host Meetup events for the community to come and learn from each other. Also, we’ve been connecting with local Meetup group organizers who are already immersed in their communities. We share what we have coming up, learn what events they have coming up, and promote everything with our growing community.
Then also getting plugged into places like Upward Hartford. There’s so much innovation and activity happening in this space. It’s nice to be situated in a hub for that, because Upward brings a lot of opportunity in and the organizers are well connected with innovators in the Hartford area.
NAN: How did Tech Talent South connect with Upward Hartford?
SEAN: We wanted to launch an initiative here in Hartford and we were looking for a space. Our courses are run out of co-working spaces in all our locations. One big reason is again, community. It’s creating collision points. For example, if you’re taking one of our courses here, you can network with other startups in the building or engage in events happening here.
ELLEN: With Upward, there’s a beautiful synergy between our programs and the space—we’re running events that help their members and they’re running events in their space that help our members. It’s helping build that energy here in Hartford.
Learn more about Tech Talent South