301 Plus Park Blvd. Ste. 300
Nashville, TN 37217
total employees
local employees
number of locations

John Wark

company type
company location

- Nashville/Davidson County

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What Four Keywords would best describe your company?

Community, Job-ready skills, Lifelong learning, Students first

What is your company doing to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Every time we graduate a class, we're moving the needle on tech workforce diversity. 58% of our students represent one or more underrepresented groups in tech (e.g. women, people of color, veterans). We are focused on providing an alternative pathway to tech careers for those who are financially disadvantaged or underemployed and/or are members of groups that are underrepresented in tech. One of the ways that we support these groups is through our Opportunity Tuition, a shared risk deferred tuition plan plus scholarship. Approximately 50% of our students receive full or partial scholarship support from NSS. 68% of students receive financial support from NSS or our partners.   Each new hire is also an opportunity for us to bring in new perspectives and experiences. Just as we are committed to helping improve the diversity of the Nashville tech talent pool, we are eager to further diversify our team.

What’s the most Nashville thing about your company?

It’s hard to pick the most Nashville thing about NSS. We’ve been community-focused since the very beginning. That’s why Nashville is in our name! We even hid a guitar pick in our logo as a nod to Music City. But perhaps the most Nashville thing about NSS is the number of musicians, and really all the Nashvillians we’ve helped start a career in tech.

Describe your company's impact on the Nashville tech scene. How are you fostering its growth?

Founded 2012, Nashville Software School is a community-focused non-profit. We started with a clearly identified community need for more trained tech talent accompanied by a strong belief that there were more than enough Nashvillians with the latent potential to meet that need. We’ve worked closely with employers since before the launch of our first bootcamp to identify the skills they need in junior tech talent. Our programs were built to teach those skills in a fast-paced, hands-on learning environment to quickly train Nashvillians to fill these jobs. We continue this close partnership with employers today. At this point, over 400 Middle Tennessee employers have hired our graduates.   We saw the need for more local tech talent as a way to create opportunities for individuals who are financially disadvantaged or are from under-represented groups in tech to access high-paying careers. NSS shares the risk and lowers the financial barrier to launching a career in tech through our Opportunity Tuition. This plan includes a scholarship and defers most of a student’s remaining tuition until after they are working in tech. If they do not graduate and get a job in tech, their deferred tuition is erased. Half of our students are on Opportunity Tuition or receive scholarships. We also lower time barriers to a new career when compared to a two- or four-year degree program.   Our students are adults of all ages with academic backgrounds from high school-only to PhDs. Most are career changers coming from just about every industry, including hospitality, music, healthcare, education, shipping and fulfillment, commercial food services, and on and on. Over 50% of our students are members of under-represented groups in tech. We increase the diversity of the Nashville tech community every time we graduate a class.   A recent survey released in July 2021 by CBRE found that since 2015 Nashville’s tech workforce has grown by 36.1% - the fastest rate of growth of any of the 50 cities in the CBRE survey. And the pace is accelerating since two-thirds of the new jobs appeared within the last two years. The Nashville Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Tech Workforce Survey projected that local demand for tech workers would outpace the nation’s demand over the next 10 years, growing the local tech workforce by 24% over that time.    At any given point in time there are hundreds of unfilled tech jobs in Nashville. This demand comes from organic growth by existing local employers, startups, and recent transplants including: Alliance Bernstein, EY, Smile Direct Club, HCA, Asurion, and most significantly, Amazon. Nashville outposts from Silicon Valley tech companies such as Eventbrite, Lyft, Postmates and others are also fueling local tech talent needs. It seems clear, only two years since the Chamber study was published, that the actual demand has been, and will continue to be, higher than 24%, if for no other reason than the recent commitment by Oracle of yet another 8,500 tech jobs.    Nashville is unable to fill these new jobs with local college graduates. According to the article in the Nashville Business Journal about the CBRE survey: 
“Nashville posted the 10th largest "brain gain," which CBRE defined as the difference between tech jobs added and tech degrees awarded from a region's universities. Over a five-year span, there were 5,007 more new tech jobs than new tech graduates, who often migrate to other cities following college  … Nashville had the largest brain gain among small tech markets”
The 1,000 NSS graduates since 2015 have supplied as much as 20% of the missing talent to meet the “brain gain” cited above.    In nine years, we have helped over 1600 people start their career in tech with an average starting salary of $60k, that’s equivalent to Nashville’s median household income in 2018. With a graduation rate of 97% and a placement rate near 94% (pre-covid economic impact), we have proven NSS works. We’re ready to do more. Help us grow into the future so we can serve even more Nashvillians.

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