PORTLAND, Maine — The White House on Tuesday added Educate Maine to its participants in a national effort to increase job openings for computer science skills, a move that stands to expand the Maine nonprofit group’s resources.
Ed Cervone, executive director of Educate Maine, said the designation doesn’t directly lead to federal funds but will allow his group to access services and advice from major tech companies participating in the national initiative, including the professional social networking site LinkedIn.
“We’re excited about the potential opportunities but we know very immediately we get access to high-level technical resources that this larger community is using,” Cervone said. “And that’s going to go so far with improving our capacity to do this job.”
The nonprofit launched its Project Login in 2013 with the goal to double the number of information technology graduates from Maine universities and colleges by 2016. It was started in part with funds from a group of employers intent on hiring qualified computer science graduates.
Some of those employers were named Tuesday as participants in the White House’s TechHire program, meaning they’ve signed on to the idea of hiring employees with demonstrated technology skills, regardless of where they studied or gained those skills.
Participating employers include Machias-based Axiom Technologies, Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, Idexx Laboratories in Westbrook, the Maine Office of Information Technology and others.
Project Login also aims to connect computer science students in Maine with internship programs at participating employers that can lead to jobs.
Cervone said the award Tuesday, for which Educate Maine program director Jay Collier and Idexx Chief Information Officer Ken Grady traveled to Washington, D.C., will give the Maine program a higher national profile as it seeks to expand its roster of participating employers and educational institutions.
“I think this is the first step to saying we could scale this up,” Cervone said.
The state of Rhode Island and city of San Jose, California, also were named as participants in the White House’s TechHire program.
Cervone said Project Login hopes connections with other participants will help it develop programs at Maine K-12 schools to find and encourage students to pursue careers in information technology.