AUTM Aims to Tackle Poverty With Workforce Solutions Partnership

June 15, 2021
Photo: Austin Urban Technology Movement

It’s no surprise that Austin’s tech sector has experienced rapid growth over the last several years. But, Black and Hispanic employees still only account for 20 percent of the tech workforce in Silicon Hills, according to CompTIA’s 2021 Cyberstates report. To move the needle, the Austin Urban Technology Movement announced a new partnership with Workforce Solutions Capital Area.

AUTM is a nonprofit that aims to bridge the gap between Black and Hispanic individuals and the tech sector. The company focuses on job placement, career development and networking. Workforce Solutions Capital Area is a workforce board for Austin-Travis County.

The two organizations will work with 10,000 Austinites experiencing poverty to train them in necessary and desirable skills sought after in today’s tech industry.

“Between this year last year, a lot of the major tech companies like Tesla and Oracle have moved headquarters here to Austin. But at the same time, companies like Apple and Samsung had committed to expanding their current footprint here in Austin,” Michael Ward Jr., president and CEO of AUTM, told Built In. “So given the fact that there are several opportunities that are moving here to Austin, there’s an increased demand and need to address the homeless population and there’s a need for us to actually address the skills deficit and the skills demand in Austin, we said, ‘Yeah, we need to create a long-term solution to address this right now and be proactive.’”

This is AUTM’s second new partnership in two months, previously announcing a partnership with Galvanize in April.

AUTM was founded in 2016 as a job placement organization focused on the tech industry. The company became a 501(c)3 organization in 2020 and added workforce development to its list of offerings. To date, AUTM has found job placement for more than 30 people and has trained 50 individuals.

“We’re building the workforce development ecosystem,” Ward previously told Built In. “So whether you’re an institution, an organization, whether you’re a tech company, or a tech department, whether you are a governmental agency, you play a role inside of the workforce development ecosystem. AUTM’s coming as the connected tissue to fill in the gaps, as needed, create new programs and new solutions, as needed, and really begin to create the process and the pipeline to get people [from point A] to point B.”

Today, AUTM has 29 employees, including board members, volunteers, fellows and interns.

Ward said AUTM is working to build New York and Dallas offices. The organization is also exploring options in Portland and California.

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