Rackspace plans to hire 1,000

Company works with Texas colleges to train new staff

Rackspace plans to add 1,000 people to its staff of about 5,000 over the next two years. It is doing so under an agreement with the state of Texas, which will help train its workers.

The state is providing a $2.5 million grant for the training, but the program is designed to work as a two-way street. For its part, IT hosting company Rackspace will get help in training new employees to meet its cloud-specific IT needs, which, for instance, may involve taking a Java programmer and teaching that person the Python or Ruby programming languages.

The training will be mostly done by instructors at Alamo Colleges, a community college system. Most of the Rackspace training will be at Northeast Lakeview College, near Rackspace's headquarters in San Antonio.

Students will be enrolled in training programs once they are hired. The training will be done at Rackspace's offices and on the college campus. The training isn't just for new hires but for other employees as well.

The course work, which will be customized around Rackspace's needs, will be completed in full-day segments of three to five days, said Duane LaBom, director of learning and development at Rackspace.

While Rackspace gains state help to train its employees, the intent of the program is to give Alamo College instructors first-hand exposure to Rackspace's technology "and how we use it," LaBom said.

The state's goal "is to increase the knowledge of the professors and the capabilities of the community colleges," LaBom said.

Even after the two-year grant ends, LaBom said Rackspace expects this knowledge sharing to give it a reliable college pipeline of potential hires. It will also help the state recruit other companies into the area, he said.

IDC is projecting 2.7 million cloud-related jobs by the end of 2015 in North America, a 22% growth rate, an estimate it made in a report last year.

The 1,000 employees that Rackspace has agreed to hire over the next two years will fill a range of occupations, including IT, human resources, marketing and administration. The company provides career-training paths for people to move from non-IT jobs, such as an accounts payable role, to a technology role, LaBom said.

Texas Workforce Commission provided the funding.

"Skills grants deliver customized training solutions that help Texas employers and workers succeed in the marketplace," said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar, in a statement. "This investment builds not only employee skills, but the capabilities of our community colleges to the benefit of employers and the community. We are pleased to make this investment," he said.

Patrick Thibodeau covers cloud computing and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is pthibodeau@computerworld.com.

See more by Patrick Thibodeau on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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