“Create Opportunity Columbia” Workforce Development Initiative Launches with Midlands Technical College

Public-private partnership formed to develop a pipeline of in-demand software engineers through screening, training, and employment

Richland County is investing in an innovative training and recruiting program creating a talent pipeline to increase the number and diversity of software engineers to meet local demand in the area’s growing technology industry.


Create Opportunity Columbia – a public-private partnership of Richland County, the City of Columbia, Midlands Technical College and Catalyte – is designed for people from non-technical backgrounds. Interested individuals can apply online at www.createopp.com.


Participants enter the program through an aptitude-based screening that identifies an individual’s ability to become a successful software engineer. No prior knowledge, educational background or experience is required. Individuals engage in an intense, six-month training followed by a two-year, paid software development apprenticeship with local employers.


The partnership is shared with Catalyte, which provides the talent transformation platform for the initial screening, technology infrastructure, curriculum and data to drive the program. Catalyte is based in Baltimore and has two decades of experience in developing software engineering talent in cities like Boston, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix-Scottsdale and Portland, OR.


“We know that there is a wellspring of untapped technology talent in the Midlands region,” said Jacob Hsu, CEO of Catalyte. “With our talent transformation technology, combined with the knowledge, expertise and reach of trusted, local partners, we know that we can do here in Columbia what we have across the country for 20 years: produce high-potential developers, from any background, who will help local businesses and government agencies shine on the national and international stages.”


The City of Columbia and Richland County are providing $65,000 in funding for the program.

“The City of Columbia is excited about the opportunities this program brings to our citizens and for economic growth in the region,” Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said. “Building a sustainable pipeline of local, motivated, and diverse software engineers provides a competitive advantage to attracting and retaining employers in the area.”


“Richland County is committed to fostering diverse, equitable, and inclusive opportunities for our citizens and employers,” said Paul Livingston, Richland County Council Chair. “We are excited to have Create Opportunity as a community partner to further those values and benefit the region’s technology sector.”


Create Opportunity Columbia’s mission aligns with local economic development objectives by fueling the growth of existing employers and the recruitment of new employers to the region with a capable technology workforce.


Midlands Technical College (MTC) is the program partner for the 26-week training that prepares participants for the two -year apprenticeship. “We are pleased about the impact this will have on our region’s economy,” said Dr. Ron Rhames, President of Midlands Technical College. “MTC is proud to be a part of this effort to grow the software engineering workforce that the Midlands community needs in order to be competitive.”




About the City of Columbia Office of Economic Development 

As the leading economic development agency for the City of Columbia, the office focuses on recruitment of new business, retention and expansion of existing industry, and support of job growth through entrepreneurship and innovation. Columbia, South Carolina is one of the fastest growing cities in the Southeast and an ideal place for commercial development. With a world class workforce, high quality of life, low cost corporate environment, and extensive transportation infrastructure, Columbia is positioned to assist companies in gaining a competitive edge in the global marketplace. For more information about the Office of Economic Development, click here.


About Create Opportunity Columbia:

Developed from the belief that talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not, Create Opportunity Columbia is a public private partnership focused on inclusive efforts to cultivate talent and strengthen employers. By identifying and screening potential candidates, providing applicable training, and matching employers and employees, Create Opportunity is reimagining the talent pipeline in the Midlands. For more information on screening registration, or how Create Opportunity can benefit your organization, please visit our website at www.createopp.com.


About Catalyte, LLC:

Catalyte produces technology talent others can’t. Its Odyssey talent transformation platform finds, trains, and advances new software developers from unexpected backgrounds, closing the talent gap and producing sustainable and diverse technology workforces. Its Surge division provides on-demand access to exceptional software engineers, allowing clients to flexibly scale technology resources when and how they need them. Catalyte operates development and training centers in Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Phoenix-Scottsdale and Portland, Ore. For more information, visit www.catalyte.io.



About Midlands Technical College:

Midlands Technical College (MTC) is a six-campus, two-year comprehensive community college serving Richland, Lexington, and Fairfield counties in South Carolina. The college provides higher education opportunities that stimulate the local economy by generating a world-class workforce and enhancing the social vitality of the community. Learn more at MIDLANDSTECH.EDU.