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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.

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