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Conversation Central Podcast

TechSF: Equipping San Francisco Residents to Work in Tech

Posted by Hannah Conrad on May 23rd, 2013

Guests: Hamid Mahmoodi, Associate Professor of Computer Engineering, San Francisco State University; Rhonda Simmons, Director, Workforce Development, Office of Economic and Workforce Development, City and County of San Francisco; Dan Stoner, Recruiter, “Minister of Possibilities”, Bay Area Video Coalition

Host: Karen Bartleson, Senior Directory, Community Marketing, Synopsys Inc.

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In an offline conversation, Professor Hamid Mamoodi mentioned a new and growing program called TechSF. In a nutshell, we learned that TechSF was a program started by the City of San Francisco to equip San Francisco residents with the skills to work in tech.

Since the tech industry is near and dear to our hearts, we wanted to learn more about TechSF. We traveled up to San Francisco to the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), one of TechSF’s program partners, to find out more about this fascinating program from Hamid Mahmoodi, Rhonda Simmons, and Dan Stoner.

Quotes from the show:

Dan: TechSF was set up [by the mayor’s office] to help support the tech sector in San Francisco . . . [and to] support job seekers and hiring managers and put the two together in a unique way.

Rhonda: We try to focus on individuals . . . that may not typically engage in technology: women, various ethnic groups, populations that are poorly represented in the field. Our focus is to outreach, do recruitment and really try to target individuals that may or may not understand the industry and know how to get into it. [TechSF also targets] . . . folks that need a certain amount of retraining . . .

Hamid: San Francisco State University is one of the many partners involved in this project. We are on the education side. . . . Our role is to ensure that our graduates obtain the skill that is demanded of them in the marketplace in the tech industry. We try to achieve this goal by working with the [TechSF] partners and the tech industry [itself] to understand what the skills are, what the current trends are and then see which of those are lacking in the curriculum. Then, we try to bridge the gap by introducing project based learning opportunities to our students.

In this show, you will learn:

  • What TechSF is
  • How to sign up for the BAVC program
  • How long TechSF has been in place, where it stands now, and where the City of San Francisco would like the program to be in the next year
  • About success stories
  • How companies, universities, communities, and individuals can support TechSF

Links of Interest:


Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC)

San Francisco State University

From left: Karen Bartleson, Hamid Mamoodi, Rhonda Simmons, and Dan Stoner

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