In 2015, a number of state and local agencies joined the White House on its TechHire Initiative. The initiative is in an effort to expand American’s access to technology jobs. When he spoke at the 2015 National League of Cities Annual Conference, President Barack Obama said these jobs benefit not only the workers but also the broader communities and the nation as a whole. When these tech jobs go unfilled, it’s a missed opportunity for the workers, but it’s also a missed opportunity for your city, your community, your county, your state, and our nation.President Barak Obama The State of Delaware was one of six initial states that committed to the initiative. The state supported new coding bootcamps and accelerated community college developer programs in Java Script and .NET. As identified in Onvia’s Spending Forecast Center, Delaware Governor Markell’s Fiscal Year 2017 Governor’s Proposed Budget shows that the state’s unemployment rate decreased from 5.2% in December 2014 to 5.0% a year later. Its partnership with TechHire played a role in the decrease, because the initiative created a pipeline for coding jobs. Interestingly, the first round of graduates more than doubled their salaries. As programs like TechHire help to American’s build their technology skillsets through training bootcamps and college courses, state and local agencies are also looking to the IT industry for services and consulting as the need for technological expertise in government operations grows as well. Evidence of Increased Focus on Contracting Out Large IT Projects IT outsourcing has been a key tool for government CIOs seeking more innovative approaches and efficiencies in their operations. As agency officials issue more contracts to technology firms that work with the government, the more this trend should support hiring of technology jobs. An interesting finding for vendors seeking these contracts is that despite state government agencies being generally larger and having more resources than other levels of SLED government, Onvia’s Spending Forecast Center shows that cities and towns have the largest number of budgets and improvement plans that mention outsourcing IT-related functions. In its proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Capital Improvement Plan, the State of New Jersey proposed a six-year, $7.7 million contingency relocation project of its Hub Data Center. The data center handles enterprise application hosting for departments’ and agencies’ hundreds of production applications. The state’s Office of Information Technology has a multi-year plan to refresh, modernize and expand the hosting capacity across existing and new facilities. Additionally, Onvia’s Term Contract Center shows that a large number of related multi-year contracts are set to expire over the next two years, offering vendors an opportunity to begin agency outreach now and the potential of securing long-term SLED government business. The City of Santa Clara in California, is seeking IT outsourcing advisory services to update its IT sourcing strategy and execute the already-approved strategy. The original contract had a 7 year term and was worth $5 million annually, it ends this year. TechHire & SLED Contracts: Building a Strong Workforce and Modernizing Government Systems Through outsourcing IT operations, government CIOs can put their complex IT infrastructures into the hands of the experts -- which is good news for businesses, government and citizens. As initiatives like TechHire increase the number of American’s employed in technology roles, IT firms are also increasing their involvement in government contracting. In Onvia’s latest report, 10 Hotspots in Government Contracting, the volume of IT consulting contracts increased by 16% in 2015 when compared to 2014, suggesting healthy opportunity volumes for technology firms looking to secure more state and local government contracts. This compares to only 4% growth for software, 1% for computer and network hardware and 1% for wireless services. State agency contracts were significantly larger than average at $6.7M. Agencies will continue to seek input and insights on how to stay relevant and how to operate efficiently. IT services and modernization won’t be cooling down, but will remain as a hotspot for all levels of government. The technology world is evolving faster, and governments will continue to evolve the need in stay up to date and modernized while ensuring that the workforce is equipped with the technical skillsets to support that need.