The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday voted to spend $150,000 on a project to transition junior developers and engineers in the tech industry into more senior-level positions.
The group tasked with developing this program, called the Birmingham Upskill Partnership Initiative, is the regional technology association TechBirmingham.
Deon Gordon, president and CEO of TechBirmingham, said stakeholders in the tech industry have noticed a dearth of workers with senior-level skill sets.
“The Upskill Initiative is one way that we can start to think about what it takes to build out that ecosystem and make it more future proof,” he said.
According to Gordon, the initiative would allow area companies to send their junior talent to a site where those workers could receive training and mentorship and be provided a “safe space to fail.”
“Basically, if I’m a junior level programmer, I’m going to make some mistakes, but I need to know that it’s not done in a mission critical environment,” he said.
Birmingham has made significant investments in projects to help foster tech industry jobs in the city, Gordon said, and the Upskill Initiative would help to make the area even more appealing to tech workers and companies looking for a new home.
“So, we have the components, we have the relationships, and this is just an opportunity to step out in front and hopefully create a model that other cities can use,” he said.
The council unanimously approved approve the agreement.
Traffic Signals, More Business
In other business, the council:
- Voted to complete documentation and accept funding for a $5 million federal transportation grant to support traffic signal improvements along 10 corridors in the city. James Fowler, director of the city’s transportation department, said the city’s communication lines to the traffic signals have deteriorated over the years due to factors such as construction and storms. Fowler said the improvements would help the signals better communicate with traffic hubs and City Hall. The U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration grant requires a 20% match from the city. The city will use money from the American Rescue Plan Act for the match.
- Voted to change the zoning of a property at 2205 Avenue G in Ensley so Danielle Baskin could convert a former church to office space and storage for her business, Image Events. The measure changed the property from CR-5 Contingency Multiple Dwelling District to QC-2 Qualified General Commercial District. Council Member Valerie Abbott cast the only no vote, citing parking concerns for neighboring residential homes.
- Approved a resolution assenting to the vacation of 100,670 square feet of the right of way that is parallel to and between 15th Avenue North and 17th Avenue North and perpendicular to and between 22nd Street North and 25th Street North, on behalf of The Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Authority, so it can consolidate property. The measure is related to the Star Amphitheater in Birmingham’s Uptown entertainment district.
- Approved a resolution to complete a $250,000 grant with the Alabama Department of Transportation for ALDOT’s Rebuild Alabama Act annual grant program for paving and adding a two-way cycle track on 21st Avenue South.
- Congratulated the Wenonah High School Lady Dragons flag football team for winning a state championship.
The recording of Tuesday’s council meeting is available here.