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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Tech Foundry, the regional leader in IT workforce development and training, announced the hiring of four new staff members as well as promotions of existing staff to support the organization’s growing operations.

Phillip Borras, Tech Foundry’s Career Readiness and Recruitment coordinator, was recently promoted to Coaching manager. A professional speaker, comedian, and life coach, he now leads a team of three coaches who mentor student members throughout the organization’s IT support training program and after graduation. This work complements Tech Foundry’s professional-development training, including résumé writing, interviewing, networking, and other professional-development skills.

Jessica Cogoli has been promoted to instructor. A Tech Foundry alum, she has been working closely with the organization since she graduated, as a volunteer, assistant instructor, and technical lead for the IT support training program. She recently graduated from Holyoke Community College with an associate degree in computer science and is now working toward her bachelor’s degree at Southern New Hampshire University.

Eric Maldonado, a 20-year veteran of the human-services field, joins the Tech Foundry team as a coach. His previous work focused on youth and homeless adults, including experience as a career coach with MassHire in Springfield. He is also an entrepreneur and has been running two successful businesses for the past five years.

William Medina, a former instructor at Tech Foundry, returned to the organization as the new Tech Hub director at the end of February. He is a technology enthusiast who helped build the organization during its early years. In his new role, he is responsible for managing the daily operations of the Tech Hub, a Holyoke-based center which provides digital-literacy classes, technical support, and device distribution throughout Western Mass. As director, he manages daily operations, curriculum development, community relations, the digital fellows program, and professional development.

Hilda Santa, a recent graduate of Tech Foundry, joins the team as the new administrative assistant and coach. She is a retired 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air National Guard and brings more than 15 years of administrative experience to the organization. In her role as a part-time coach, she will mentor the next generation of student-members. She holds a bachelor’s degree in health studies from UMass Amherst.

Pattie Carulli-Hauser brings her passion for coaching and mentoring to the Tech Foundry team as one of the organization’s new coaches. In her role, she will provide ongoing mentoring and support for Tech Foundry’s student members. She has spent most of her career in research and development leadership roles in the consumer-goods industry.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have such a dedicated and resourceful team of professionals working at Tech Foundry,” CEO Tricia Canavan said. “We are grateful to our funders, donors, and partners in the community, whose support allows us to grow our programs, which in turn benefit more individuals, families, and businesses in Western Massachusetts and beyond.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Tech Foundry, the regional leader in IT workforce development and training, announced the appointment of 12 new members to its board of trustees. Hailing from a wide variety of professional backgrounds and including an alumnus of the organization’s 18‐week IT support training program, the new slate of directors represents the diversity of the communities served by Tech Foundry.

The organization welcomes Paul Nicholson (treasurer), Finance director at Wellfleet Insurance, and Briana Dawkins (clerk), associate attorney at Litchfield Cavo LLP in Simsbury, Conn. They join veteran officers Mike Walker (chair), retired financial-services professional at MassMutual Financial Group, and Delcie Bean (founder and immediate past chair), CEO of Paragus Strategic IT.

New directors include Jay Ash, CEO of Mass Competitive Partnership; Everton Chin, director of IT at Travelers; Damon DePaolo, director of Human Risk Management at MassMutual; Samalid Hogan, CEO and principal consultant at Greylock Management Consulting; Xiaolei Hua, first vice president at PeoplesBank; Cindy Knowles, Strategy & Change Management lead at MassMutual; George Timmons, president of Holyoke Community College; and Hector Toledo, commercial lender and vice president at New Valley Bank

Patrick Streck, president and founder of Estli Consulting, returns to Tech Foundry after serving on the original board of advisors from 2013 to 2021.

Salam (Sam) Zebian, Information Protection senior advisor at Cigna, graduated from Tech Foundry in 2017 and has been volunteering with the organization as a guest speaker since then.

They join veteran board members Greg Bialecki, principal at Redgate; Ann McFarland Burke, owner of Ann McFarland Burke Consultancy; Dawn Creighton, Community Outreach officer at Liberty Bank; and Dianne Fuller Doherty, one of the original founders of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.

“It’s incredibly exciting and humbling to have such a diverse and impressive group of professionals leading Tech Foundry during this time of innovation and growth,” said Tricia Canavan, CEO of Tech Foundry. “We look forward to the board’s continued leadership as we celebrate 10 years of impact in Massachusetts, both on a small and large scale.

“Tech Foundry connects individuals to technical training for quality, living‐wage jobs, but we also support the very foundation of the Massachusetts economy,” she added. “We do this by filling critical employment gaps throughout the Commonwealth with diverse talent who have been historically marginalized from the IT field. Our expanded board will be critical in ensuring that our next 10 years of operations — and beyond — drive equitable workforce and economic-development goals throughout Massachusetts.”

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Promising Pipeline

Tricia Canavan (far left) and HCC President George Timmons (far right) in the Tech Hub digital classroom with Tech Foundry graduates (and current Tech Hub fellows) Lasharie Weems, Shanice McKenzie, and Anelson Delacruz.

Tricia Canavan (far left) and HCC President George Timmons (far right) in the Tech Hub digital classroom with Tech Foundry graduates (and current Tech Hub fellows) Lasharie Weems, Shanice McKenzie, and Anelson Delacruz.

 

Tech Foundry was launched in 2014 with a specific goal: to increase the technology workforce in Western Mass. at a time when employers were struggling to attract and retain talent.

“Since then, we’ve grown and really have focused on working with low- to moderate-income people and also people from non-traditional backgrounds who may be underrepresented in the tech sector,” said Tricia Canavan, who came on board as Tech Foundry’s CEO last year.

The nonprofit does so by offering professional development, technical career training, career coaching and internships, and job placement in order to connect people to existing IT opportunities, she added. “We’re very proud of the fact that our alums access living-wage jobs and are on these great career pathways.”

If anything, she noted, the need for Tech Foundry is stronger than ever. Recent studies of the workforce environment in Massachusetts suggest up to 400,000 people need to be attracted, recruited, or reskilled in order to keep business in the Bay State humming at optimal levels — many of those in the broad realm of IT.

“There has been a talent shortage in the tech sector and in other sectors, even pre-pandemic, but since the pandemic, we’ve seen those trends accelerate.”

“We all know that the tech sector is on fire, and there are lots and lots of opportunities for growth, and you don’t always need a college degree to access those things,” Canavan said of Tech Foundry’s innovative model that lets students stack certifications to help them get their foot in the door in IT and then progress up the career ladder.

“There has been a talent shortage in the tech sector and in other sectors, even pre-pandemic, but since the pandemic, we’ve seen those trends accelerate,” she added.

The reasons are varied, from mass retirements of Baby Boomers — which means the departure of much senior and middle management, as well as rank-and-file IT workers, from the workforce — to fewer children in the K-12 pipeline.

“Just by sheer numbers, we have fewer kids that are going to be graduating from high school and entering the workforce and/or going to college — that’s fewer kids to engage as young professionals once they complete their education. Also, some of the forecasts that I’ve seen have upwards of 60,000 young professionals projected to move from Massachusetts,” she added, for reasons ranging from cost of living to a housing shortage.

“It’s sort of this perfect storm of economic conditions that are creating persistent needs in the workforce for workers of all types, but there is absolutely a need for more workers in the tech sector.”

Tricia Canavan says Tech Hub is a way to address the region’s digital divide.

Tricia Canavan says Tech Hub is a way to address the region’s digital divide.

The core, 18-week Tech Foundry program has helped produce more of those workers locally, but the nonprofit is equally excited about its newest initiative, called Tech Hub, a broad collaboration that also includes Holyoke Community College (HCC), the Western Massachusetts Alliance for Digital Equity, the Massachusetts Broadband Institute, the Accelerate the Future Foundation, Comcast, Google, Bulkley Richardson, and other partners.

“This has been created as part of the Western Mass. Alliance for Digital Equity’s efforts to address digital equity, and the digital divide here in Western Mass.,” Canavan explained. “We, as part of the consortium working on the digital divide in Western Mass., identified an opportunity to be able to support digital-equity efforts while also continuing professional-development training for our staff, students, and alums.”

Located at 206 Maple St. in downtown Holyoke, Tech Hub, which opened to the public on Oct. 26, offers basic and intermediate digital-literacy training, with an eye on enabling people to access jobs of all kinds, not just specifically in IT.

“It starts off as basic as, ‘do you know how to use a mouse? Do you know how to use a trackpad? This is how you get on the internet,’ all the way up to exposure to things like Google Sheets, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Excel, that sort of thing. We want to help people access the basic digital literacy that they need to thrive at work, at school, in healthcare, and connecting to others in the community.”

That’s the first leg of the Tech Hub stool, she explained; the others are providing computers free of charge to eligible people, and providing technical support and one-on-one troubleshooting services to people in the community.

“Everybody probably has someone in their family that uses technology but maybe is not an expert. When they have a problem, where do they go? So we envision providing that support for the community through Tech Hub.”

 

Confidence Restored

As a single, stay-at-home mother with young boys, Lasharie Weems often felt overwhelmed — particularly when it came to technology.  “My 5-year old was probably more digitally literate than I was,” she said.

The remote instruction her children required during the pandemic proved even more baffling, she added. “My older two sons go to a science and technology school. I struggled to even help them with their homework.”

“We want to help people access the basic digital literacy that they need to thrive at work, at school, in healthcare, and connecting to others in the community.”

After enrolling in Tech Foundry’s free, 18-week program, she said her confidence was restored, and it actually brought her family closer together.

Weems now works for Tech Foundry. She told her story at the grand opening of Tech Hub, where she will be serving as an American Connection Corps fellow.

“Today is an exciting occasion for all of us,” Weems she told the crowd assembled outside Tech Hub’s digital classroom. “But for me, it’s a personal achievement as I celebrate the journey it took to get me here. Tech Hub is my opportunity to pay it forward, to help countless others identify and bridge the gap in digital equity.”

Canavan said connections like that are important.

“What was exciting to us about this project was the ability to expand the impact of Tech Foundry, but we’re also staffing Tech Hub in part with alums of Tech Foundry through a one-year professional digital fellowship program,” she explained. “They work under the guidance of Tech Foundry staff to provide the training and technical support services. In addition, we will have students who will be doing co-op and internship work while they’re in the program.”

From left: Tech Hub fellow Shanice McKenzie, Tech Hub manager Shannon Mumblo

From left: Tech Hub fellow Shanice McKenzie, Tech Hub manager Shannon Mumblo, and Tech Foundry deputy director Michelle Wilson in the Tech Hub digital classroom.

HCC President George Timmons said it was fitting for Tech Hub to be based at the Picknelly Adult & Family Education Center (PAFEC), one of the college’s satellite campuses in the heart of the city, which also houses HCC’s Adult Learning Center as well as other community programs, including the Holyoke High Opportunity Academy, an alternative public high-school program. 

“The mission of Holyoke Community College is to educate, inspire, and connect,” he said. “Through this initiative, we hope to promote access to technology and connectivity, digital literacy, and education, while giving individuals the tools they need to be successful.”

Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia agreed, noting that four students who attend the Holyoke High Opportunity Academy at PAFEC have already signed up to be part of the Tech Hub program. 

“I think we can all agree that digital literacy in 2023 is as vital as reading literacy was 50 years ago,” the mayor said. “Whether it’s filling out a job application, communicating with a customer, maintaining accessible records, or even booking a flight, digital fluency is a necessary life skill.

“But the Tech Hub mission recognizes something else: that there exists a digital divide that is the result of inequities in access, opportunity, housing, income, and schooling,” he went on. “The free training and support that will take place at this site and at community partner locations is going to be a liberating game changer.”

 

Opportunity Knocks

Meanwhile, important work continues at Tech Foundry, Canavan said, and applications for the next cohort of students are open at thetechfoundry.org through December.

“We work very intentionally to engage with the community to get the word out about TechFoundry, and there are a lot of different strategies that we use to do that,” she noted, including social media, referrals from community organizations, and partnering with schools to make students aware that Tech Foundry can be a career-development option for them.

“I think it’s a really good option for people because the training is excellent,” she added. “It’s really an intensive training with a great track record of people accessing employment in the tech sector after they graduate, and it’s at no cost.”

Canavan, who has a deep background in nonprofit management and was also president of a staffing agency, United Personnel, said it’s gratifying to see people come through the Tech Foundry program and improve their lives, and she’s hoping for similar impact from Tech Hub.

“I was eager to return to the nonprofit world after selling my business a couple of years ago and felt very fortunate when this job was open at Tech Foundry. I think it’s a great opportunity for me to use my background in recruiting and staffing and also leverage the workforce and economic-development work that I was doing in that role in the nonprofit world, in partnership with residents and community partners and employers,” she told BusinessWest.

“I love this job because it’s pragmatic and solutions-focused,” she added. “There’s tons of opportunity right now, so how do we work together to help residents of Western Mass. access those opportunities? It’s exciting.”

Business Talk Podcast Special Coverage

We are excited to announce that BusinessWest has launched a new podcast series, BusinessTalk. Each episode will feature in-depth interviews and discussions with local industry leaders, providing thoughtful perspectives on the Western Massachuetts economy and the many business ventures that keep it running during these challenging times.

Go HERE to view all episodes

Episode 187: November 13, 2023

Joe Interviews Tech Foundry CEO Tricia Canavan

Since its launch almost a decade ago, Tech Foundry has trained hundreds of students and partnered with scores of employers across Western Mass. to get people trained for good IT careers and help businesses grow with local talent. On the next episode of BusinessTalk, Tech Foundry CEO Tricia Canavan talks with BusinessWest Editor Joe Bednar about how the organization continues to play a key role in the region’s high-tech ecosystem — and how its new partnership with Holyoke Community College, called Tech Hub, promises to help even more people navigate the digital world and improve their job prospects. It’s must listening, so tune in to BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest and sponsored by PeoplesBank.

 

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Daily News

HOLYOKE — Tech Foundry, a regional leader in IT workforce development and training, in partnership with Holyoke Community College (HCC), will celebrate the grand opening of Tech Foundry’s new Tech Hub on Wednesday, Oct. 25, beginning at 10 a.m. on the first floor of HCC’s Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center, located at 206 Maple St., Holyoke.

The following day, Thursday, Oct. 26, Tech Hub will officially open to the general public, offering free services and classes that include digital skills training workshops, walk-in IT support and troubleshooting, internet-connectivity consultations, and computer distribution (free in limited quantities).

Tech Hub, a program of the Springfield-based nonprofit Tech Foundry, was started in 2023 as part of a statewide initiative of the Western Massachusetts Alliance for Digital Equity, which received a $5.1 million grant earlier this year from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. Along with HCC, other key partners and supporters of the Tech Hub project include the Accelerate the Future Foundation, Comcast, Google, Bulkley Richardson, and the Massachusetts Broadband Institute.

“Tech Hub’s mission is to empower Massachusetts residents through access to the skills and technology needed to thrive in the digital world,” said Michelle Wilson, deputy director of Tech Foundry.

The Oct. 25 celebration will include a tour of the Tech Hub facility, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and remarks from attendees, including Tech Foundry CEO Tricia Canavan; HCC President George Timmons; Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia; state Rep. Pat Duffy; Frank Robinson, vice president for Community Relations and Public Health at BayState Health and chair of the Western Massachusetts Alliance for Digital Equity; and Dan Glanville, vice president of Government Affairs and Community Impact for Comcast’s Western New England Region.

“We understand the important role that the Internet plays in helping build a future of unlimited possibilities for everyone in the community,” Glanville said. “We are proud to partner with organizations like Tech Foundry that are making it easier for people across Western Massachusetts to adopt the internet and succeed in an increasingly digital world.”

Starting Oct. 26, Tech Hub will be open noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, with classes held from noon to 1 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m. On Mondays and Fridays, Tech Hub Manager Shannon Mumblo and Tech Hub fellows will take their IT services into the community around Western Mass.

“We’re starting by doing outreach in Springfield and Holyoke, and we have also been making partnerships with different organizations in Amherst and South Hadley,” Mumblo said. “We will take our workshops on the road and go to the places and spaces where they are needed.”

To learn more, sign up for classes, and access Tech Hub help-desk support, visit techhubmass.net.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Tech Foundry, the regional leader in IT workforce development and training, has opened applications for its spring 2024 IT support classes, which will run from Feb. 12 through June 14, 2024.

Tech Foundry’s training includes 14 weeks of tech-focused classes supported by professional-development activities and individualized coaching and tutoring, followed by four weeks of internship experience and ongoing job-placement support. Tech Foundry’s graduates successfully launch careers in IT help-desk and technical-support roles, as well as network administration and digital-imaging and deployment positions, leading to living-wage jobs in the tech sector.

To apply, visit thetechfoundry.org/the-program/apply-now and complete the application by Dec. 31.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Tech Foundry, the regional leader in IT workforce development and training, has opened applications for its fall 2023 classes, which will run from Aug. 21 through Dec. 22.

Tech Foundry’s training includes 14 weeks of tech-focused classes supported by professional-development activities and individualized coaching and tutoring, followed by four weeks of internship experience and ongoing job-placement support. Tech Foundry’s graduates successfully launch careers in IT help-desk and technical-support roles, as well as network administration and digital imaging and deployment positions, leading to living-wage jobs in the technology sector.

To learn more, join one of the upcoming information sessions by clicking here. To apply, click here and complete the application by July 17.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Tech Foundry, a regional leader in IT workforce development and training, announced the hiring of three new staff members as well as four promotions, which will allow the organization to double the number of participants served annually.

Henry Alston was hired as Tech Foundry’s Service-Learning coordinator. In this role, he will be responsible for implementing the organization’s new service-learning pilot program in collaboration with Mass Humanities’ Clemente Course in the Humanities. He is a tech and wellness enthusiast with career experience in sales, marketing, and project coordination. After attaining his bachelor’s degree from Lincoln University in Oxford, Pa. in 2015, he went on to graduate from the University of Louisville with his MBA in 2020. He is a Tech Foundry alum.

Phillip Borras is Tech Foundry’s Career Readiness and Recruitment coordinator, a new role created to provide focused support and mentoring to student members. His diverse experience as a professional speaker, comedian, and life coach allows him to successfully teach and support Tech Foundry participants as a career coach during and after the program.

Jessica Cogoli has been promoted to assistant instructor. She is a Tech Foundry alum and has been working closely with the organization since she graduated, both as a volunteer and a TA for its IT-support training program. She is currently enrolled at Holyoke Community College and will graduate with an associate degree in computer science in the spring.

Marie-Ange Delimon, a Tech Foundry alum, has been promoted to manager of Community Impact for the organization. In this role, she oversees external partnerships and community engagement, including managing internship and job-placement programs as well as partnerships with a variety of nonprofit organizations throughout Western Mass. Previously, she served as Tech Foundry’s manager of Workforce Development. She is a graduate of a variety of medical-training programs and holds an MD degree from Université Notre Dame d’Haïti.

Johannes Romatka has been promoted to manager of Instruction and Curriculum. Previously an instructor at Tech Foundry, he has a diverse background in information technology, including training and network support. Prior to joining Tech Foundry, he worked in a training role for internal IT-support staff at U.S. Bank.

Linh Tran joined Tech Foundry in February as the organization’s new Administrative and Marketing coordinator, where she will support development, program, and communication initiatives. Originally from Vietnam, she has been studying and working in Massachusetts for almost 10 years. She is an experienced management professional with a diverse background in nonprofit, retail, legal, and insurance organizations, and is a graduate of Tech Foundry’s IT-support training program.

Michelle Wilson was hired as Tech Foundry’s manager of Administration and Operations in September and was recently promoted to deputy director, a position that encompasses a variety of duties, including overall operations management, fundraising, and marketing. Her background includes more than 17 years in nonprofit management, with roles at a national membership organization in San Francisco, a globally recognized mentoring program, an independent school in Seattle, and a state humanities council. She is a graduate of Lafayette College in Easton, Pa. and holds a master’s degree in public administration from San Francisco State University.

“It’s very exciting to see Tech Foundry’s growth and expanded impact,” CEO Tricia Canavan said. “We are grateful to our funders and donors, as well as to our partners in the community, which are supporting the expansion of our program to benefit more residents and organizations throughout the region.”

Daily News

BOSTON — Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy announced three new grants from the Commonwealth’s Tech Talent Diversity Initiative, an effort aimed at boosting diversity hiring and training opportunities for diverse candidates. The three grants, totaling $494,947, were awarded to Tech Foundry in Springfield, Hack.Diversity in Boston, and Benjamin Franklin Cummings Institute of Technology in Boston.

“The Tech Talent Diversity grants are one way our administration is working to improve equity in a key, growing sector, by supporting organizations that are opening doors for new candidates to find employment or to get the training they need to enter a career,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “We look forward to seeing the progress these organizations will make in the future.”

Tech Foundry was founded in 2014 by Pioneer Valley tech employers and other workforce, business, education, and economic-development stakeholders to address the regional skills gap in information technology and drive regional economic growth. The organization offers training programs aimed at filling entry-level IT roles and provides training that is tailored to the needs of partner employers, including a work-experience component where students are placed in a position at a local employer.

Tech Foundry’s $72,547 grant award will be used to assist employer partners’ ability to host students, primarily in the Pioneer Valley, for hands-on training, by creating a new platform called Tech Foundry Ventures to host two new programs, including the development of a virtual IT technician-training environment, working with employer partners to create a tool where students will face similar scenarios to those seen on the job, allowing them to practice the skills they have learned in the classroom without the stakes of serving real-world clients; and the launch of a service-learning initiative where students will work with community organizations that cannot afford to utilize commercial services, providing similar IT services to those provided by employer partners. The expanded tools will allow Tech Foundry to train as many as 150 additional students per year, three times its existing number.

“Tech Foundry provides agile, real-time opportunities for our student members to practice the new technology skills they’re developing through training,” said Tricia Canavan, CEO of Tech Foundry. “The Tech Talent Diversity Initiative funding is allowing us to expand the opportunities for refining their students’ tech competencies through a two-pronged approach. The virtual ‘sandbox’ allows Tech Foundry to create scenarios in real-time which reflect our employer partners’ unique help-desk needs, enabling relevant skills practice. The service-learning project will provide Tech Foundry participants another opportunity to sharpen their tech skills while also supporting the community. The Commonwealth’s investment in these programs will provide measurable, positive impact to our student members as well as the region.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Tech Foundry, with a mission to support the region’s growing need for a qualified technology workforce and elevate underrepresented groups into sustainable careers in information technology, announced the appointment of Tricia Canavan as its CEO effective March 21. Canavan will succeed Bruce Dixon, who resigned to pursue new opportunities.

Tricia Canavan

Founded in 2014, Tech Foundry has offered internships, networking opportunities, and instruction to traditionally low-income, underserved populations, preparing graduates for entry-level IT work in the Pioneer Valley. These programs are offered free of charge to participants through donations from area businesses and members of the local community.

With a background in nonprofit and business management, workforce development, and adult education, Canavan currently serves as executive vice president of corporate relations and advocacy for Masis Staffing Solutions. Previously, she served as CEO of United Personnel, which was acquired by Masis in May 2021. She chairs the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, co-chairs Springfield Business Leaders for Education, and serves on the boards of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, MassHire Hampden County, and the Springfield Public Forum.

“We are grateful for Bruce’s leadership of Tech Foundry over the last two years and look forward to Tricia joining the organization,” said Delcie Bean IV, Tech Foundry board chair. “Her knowledge of the Western Massachusetts economic and educational ecosystems, as well as her organizational management, will help Tech Foundry continue to grow and innovate.”

Canavan noted that “adult education and workforce and economic development have been areas of great interest to me, beginning with my work as a faculty member at Berkshire Community College 20 years ago and continuing through my current position and board roles. I am eager to leverage my professional and volunteer experience in partnership with the staff, board, and partners of Tech Foundry to create more career opportunities for area residents and assist local companies in building their workforces.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Tech Foundry, a nonprofit with a mission to support the region’s growing need for a qualified technology workforce and elevate underrepresented groups into sustainable careers in information technology, has named Bruce Dixon its new CEO. Dixon will work alongside an 11-member board, lead a five-member staff, and drive strategic business partnerships and curriculum development to propel the already-thriving organization forward.

Founded in 2014, Tech Foundry has offered internships, networking opportunities, and instruction to traditionally low-income, underserved populations, preparing graduates for the entry-level IT workforce in the Pioneer Valley. These programs are offered free of charge to participants through generous donations from area businesses and members of the local community.

Dixon previously served as CEO of the Connecticut Pre-Engineering Program, a social venture that inspires and prepares underrepresented students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It’s this background that generated interest among Tech Foundry board members, but it’s his well-rounded background and personal philosophy that solidified his candidacy.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Bruce Dixon to our team,” said Delcie Bean, CEO of Paragus IT and co-founder of Tech Foundry. “Not only does he possess an impressive résumé, he understands and subscribes to the mission and vision of our organization.”

Dixon is an award-winning innovator, social entrepreneur, adventurer, storyteller, and self-proclaimed “human-performance geek.” His insatiable curiosity and zest for life has led him to trek around the globe and to engage in an eclectic array of vocations including professional football, financial-services management, leadership development, organizational behavior, coaching, and nonprofit innovation.

He has held a variety of leadership roles with the Hartford Financial Services Group and the Chubb group of insurance companies; was honored with numerous awards, including the Connecticut Science Center Award for Achievement in STEM Innovation and Education and Wesleyan University’s Social Entrepreneurship Award; and was invited as an honored guest to the 2014 inaugural White House Maker Faire.