NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Nashville tech leaders say interest by Oracle validates their efforts in developing a talent pool tech companies can’t resist.
The Fortune 500 computer technology company wants to build a new $1.2 billion technology hub on the East Bank of the Cumberland River.
To say Hayley “Zap” Zapolski was excited about the news, may be the very definition of an understatement.
“Honestly, I immediately had chills all over,” Zap said.
As founder of Nashtech, Zap has promoted the notion that tech jobs are the future. For the last two years, she's created a network of local tech experts to exchange ideas on how to make Nashville a destination for other like-minded professionals.
“Tech really is the future of work. We’re seeing more jobs and more opportunities within that space,” Zap said.
We were joined by Joshua Mundy, as we stood across from the potential site of the new technology hub. He’s the CEO of PivotTech, a company where they help minorities pivot from jobs of the past and fill the careers of tomorrow.
The 20-week training features courses in data analytics, cybersecurity, and software development. Mundy says the mission is to get more minorities trained and engaged in these careers.
“We’ve been able to take people who have been making $30,000 and give them a tech career. Now they’re making $75,000. We’re talking about closing wealth gaps,” Mundy said.
Now imagine that gap when you’re now making six figures. That’s the average salary for the 8,500 staff Oracle wants to employ. Between constructing and maintaining the new tech hub, Oracle estimates they would need to fill 21,500 more jobs.
“Oracle is just another name on the list, that’s getting longer and longer,” Zap said.
NTT Data Services recently committed nearly $10 million to create a tech hub in Nashville. The investment included 350 new jobs.
Brian Moyer of Nashville Technology Council says these businesses follow the talent, which has been his job over the past two decades.
He remembers back in 2008 when Nashville had trouble filling just over a thousand tech jobs.
“We really dug in to find out how we could solve this problem,” Moyer said.
Moyer joined the IT advisory board at Trevecca Nazarene University. That's where he relayed the skills business leaders said they were looking for from their new hires. He noticed shortly after that the school added new degree programs to meet these needs.
Moyer says Nashville now has a talent pool companies want, but it’s never too late for someone new to dive in.
"The good news is as we look at companies coming in wanting to hire by the thousands, there are already initiatives in place,” Moyer said.
Mundy is working on such an initiative and says the biggest challenge for his students is getting past the mentality of tech is not for them.
“We’re not in the technology business, we’re in the psychology business. We have to convince people to say, I can do that,” Mundy said.
Oracle has not confirmed if these jobs will be filled by existing employees from any one of their seven other regional hubs. The Metro Industrial Development Board would have to approve Oracle’s economic plan before a deal is finalized.