Tech talent in Louisville is a perennial conversation. Are we a tech city? What is holding us back? On Feb. 3, Venture Connectors hosted leaders from Code Louisville and The Software Guild who are working to answer these questions and encourage business leaders in Louisville to help make the city a top destination for tech talent.

Panelists Becky Steele, Rachel McGalliard and Rider Rodriguez shared the state of affairs concerning tech talent in Louisville and challenged members and guests to do their part to make Louisville a tech hub. They also shared statistics on tech talent profiling and recommendations on how to turn out qualified graduates in the technology field.

Becky Steele

Becky Steele

Steele serves as IT sector strategies coordinator for KentuckianaWorks,¬† Greater Louisville’s Workforce Development Board. She holds a bachelor‚Äôs degree in engineering physics from Murray State University and has worked in various engineering roles for Fortune 100 and 500 companies.Steele joined KentuckianaWorks in March 2015 as project coordinator for Code Louisville, a no-cost software development training program for adults who want to train for junior-level opportunities within the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

Code Louisville is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor through a Workforce Innovation Fund grant awarded to KentuckianaWorks in October 2014.  In 2015, more than 280 adults graduated at least one 12-week cohort class, and more than 120 graduates enrolled in an advanced, second 12-week cohort in January 2016 to specialize in a high-demand software language. Code Louisville’s current goal is to have 100 graduates gain employment within the SDLC by October 2016.

Rachel McGalliard

Rachel McGalliard

McGalliard is vice president of operations for The Software Guild, an accelerated, hands-on coding boot camp where participants learn software development in 12 weeks. It is owned and operated by online education technology solution provider The Learning House Inc. The Guild has more than 100 companies in its employer network, a 95-percent job placement rate and master instructors with an average of more than 10 years of industry experience.

McGalliard joined Learning House in 2010. In her current role, she leads all operational components of coding boot camps, including overseeing curriculum development, identifying location opportunities, optimizing enrollment and ensuring smooth delivery of services to students. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry and a master’s degree in psychological and brain sciences, both from the University of Louisville.

Rider Rodriguez

Rider Rodriguez

Rodriguez is director of sector strategies for KentuckianaWorks. In addition to¬† delivering business-facing work-force services, he helps lead initiatives such as Code Louisville to close the Louisville area‚Äôs skill shortage in information technology and Louisville Sells to provide a trained and ready sales work force. Rodriguez previously worked as a technology project manager for Humana Inc. Rodriguez served as a signal officer in the U.S. Army for nine years, including service in Afghanistan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Rutgers University and is pursuing a master‚Äôs degree in technology entrepreneurship from the University of Maryland, College Park.