LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville wants to rapidly increase the size of its tech-savvy talent pool. To do that, Mayor Greg Fischer and other city leaders announced a new initiative on Monday.
The program is called LouTechWorks, and involves partnering with local schools to begin teaching students digital literacy as early as kindergarten. Starting in middle school, students will be taught how to apply digital skills.
High school students will have access to careers in technology through a partnership with Academies of Louisville. Six universities and colleges have also signed on, including: Bellarmine University, Jefferson Community and Technical College, Indiana University Southeast, Ivy Tech Community College, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville.
JCPS will grow its Backpack of Success and Academy of Louisville programs geared toward tech. It will also grow its Esports programs, which allows students to earn college athletics scholarships for playing video games.
"We play against different teams from different schools," Central High School sophomore, Raj Hukom said.
"This year, the athletic director came to me and said Esports is now a Kentucky sanctioned sport," Central High School IT teacher and Esports coach Shawn Canaday said.
LouTechWorks will build on the success of Code Louisville, a program that teaches students how to build websites and other IT skills.
"Having the skills to use a computer, like different keyboard shortcuts in Word, sheets, slides, all that stuff is very useful," Hukom said. "Even now, I already have an edge over my friends because I know all those shortcuts and they just think I'm doing magic."
According to a news release, Louisville has about 79 percent of the technology jobs it should have, and needs to quintuple its projected job growth in the tech industry in the next few years.
In announcing the initiative, Mayor Fischer called on local businesses to join in the effort by establishing cooperative and internship programs to help students learn on the job, and to hire qualified candidates after they graduate.
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