When people moving from Silicon Valley to Phoenix ask me for a meeting, I always say yes. After all, I’ve spent twenty years trying to lure people from California to Arizona by telling them how much opportunity there is here.
Although they always tell me they love it here once they arrive, I can never figure out how to make the slow outward stream from Silicon Valley’s traffic, high housing costs, and youth-driven culture flow more swiftly in Arizona’s direction. People arrive in Phoenix one by one, for any number of reasons, but not with the speed they should. I welcome them all, because they enrich the community at the same time they enjoy a higher quality of life.
Chase Norlin, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur ( Emerge Digital Group, Pixsy) , was one of those people who get recommended to me by other people; he presented a concept for a new co-working space that would have a workforce development angle to it. Transmosis, the name of this concept, has a mission to transform American workers into a New Economy Workforce. His targets are laid off baby boomers who need to re-skill to get hired, veterans, and youth.
Transmosis the company runs a nationally recognized on-the-job training and externship program focused on enhancing the skills of job seekers and placing/recruiting them into leading technology oriented employers. By way of a partnership with the city of Tempe, this program has now come to greater Phoenix. (It is already in San Jose, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.)
Through it, job seekers are matched with sponsor employers and engage in project-based work to enhance their skills in high demand industry categories. While job seekers fill their skill gaps by working directly in an externship with their sponsor company, the Transmosis placement team works directly with the candidate on resume optimization and job submission.
I liked this idea right off the bat, and I connected Chase to some economic development people I know. Since he needed both grants and economic development partners, the project quickly moved out of my hands.
In Tempe, the program will occupy the city-owned building that used to be the Tempe Performing Arts Center, on Sixth Street east of Mill Avenue (not easy to find). Transmosis has already begun recruiting small companies that will occupy space in the building as sponsor companies, and help train the externs in return for the space.
If this works out, it will solve several problems at once: provide tech-related jobs with higher wages for people who have been laid off or locked out of those jobs; help companies who have difficulty finding technical talent scale more quickly; and reverse the brain drain that plagues us.
Although the space hasn’t opened yet, I took a private tour last week and was impressed by the enthusiasm of the companies involved. Most are graduates of the ASU Edson undergraduate entrepreneurship program or ASU Skysong’s Furnace initiative.
If you are someone who could either sponsor a trainee, or if you’d like to go through the Transmosis Bootcamp process, get in touch with local director Andy Moy via email.