The University of New Brunswick has partnered with the McKenna Institute and TechImpact to launch a new initiative that aims to address the tech industry’s labour shortage in New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada.

The three parties will hold a series of bootcamp-style programs to help Atlantic Canadians improve their skills and find new employment opportunities in the digital economy. The goal is to increase the pool of talent not just for IT companies but also for other industries that need technical staff.

Fredericton-based UNB and its partners said in a statement Monday that they would release details of the program in the spring.

"To grow businesses and maintain a competitive edge, New Brunswick employers need talent with digital skills such as software development, data analytics and cybersecurity,” said TechImpact CEO Cathy Simpson in the statement. “This partnership provides an avenue to train individuals to fill the skills gap in these disciplines and others."

TechImpact is an industry association for the digital economy in Atlantic Canada, while the Fredericton-based McKenna Institute, which opened last year, is dedicated to promoting the digital transformation across society.

Last year, TechImpact and Jupia Consultants completed a five-year IT Workforce strategy for the New Brunswick government. The study estimated there will be over 1,900 IT positions that will need to be filled in New Brunswick in the next year alone.

UNB, TechImpact and the McKenna Institute agreed to work with Lanham, Md.-based 2U, Inc., which provides education technology. It will design programs for employers or individuals who want to accelerate their digital technology expertise.

UNB’s College of Extended Learning will onboard instructors and recruit students in the coming months. Funding support may be available to participants to ensure that programs are accessible and support equity-deserving cohorts of students.

The partners hope 600 participants from across Atlantic Canada will join these programs over the next three years.

"Leveraging technology across our economy, educational system, and government is key to our region's prosperity and growth," said Adrienne O'Pray, Executive Director of the McKenna Institute. "This partnership opens the door for individuals in New Brunswick—who may not have otherwise had the opportunity—to participate in the digital economy and the digitally enabled workplace."