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This pilot program helped hopeful software engineers land jobs in the industry

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(Updated at 2 p.m.) Participants in a county-led tech pilot program graduated on Friday and nearly all of them have jobs lined up already.

The Arlington Talent Pilot Program, hosted by Arlington Economic Development, began in 2022 as a way to bridge the workforce gap in the tech industry, according to AED. It got its start with funding from the Covid stimulus package dubbed the American Rescue Plan.

It provides on-the-job training to aspiring software engineers who miss out on  interviews owing to a lack of job experience.

During the program, the participants had temporary, full-time paid roles at the software company Exelaration and received mentorship from company developers.

AED says the company, which provides software solutions for organizations of all sizes, is the second-best tech and engineering internship provider in the U.S.

Working for Exelaration, participants saw an average pay increase of 26% and an average of 11 more hours per week of work. There were 11 participants — including one from Alexandria, who was admitted though technically separate from the program for Arlington residents. All 11 participants completed the program and 80% have jobs.

Local and state officials attended a graduation luncheon on Friday to congratulate the participants and stressed the need for more programs like this one, according to a press release from Exelaration.

The dignitaries present included Arlington County Board Vice-Chair Libby Garvey, Virginia State Sen. Barbara Favola and Rep. Don Beyer, as well as Exelaration CEO Steve Cooper.

“This program works because Northern Virginia companies stepped up to be clients of the program,” Cooper said during the event, per the release. “Our expert-led teams, staffed with our new engineers, built valuable working software that clients desperately need.”

Arlington Talent Pilot Program participant Eric Enkhbold Bayarsaikhan and Exelaration CEO Steve Cooper (courtesy Exelaration)

He praised Arlington for meeting a regional shortage of tech workers. The region is also pinning its hopes for a larger tech workforce on the forthcoming Virginia Tech Innovation Campus in Alexandria.

“NoVA’s tech leaders said they needed experienced tech talent and Arlington is delivering it,” Cooper said.

AED highlighted the program and its participants in a recent video.

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