The DriveIT gymnasium just opened in Akron as a place where brains, not brawn, will get workouts.

It’s a gym only in a cerebral sense — DriveIT is a tech training center whose founders and backers say will help the Akron area nurture state-of-the-art information technology specialists. The facility opened on the fourth floor of the Stark State Akron building off White Pond Drive.

On Monday, DriveIT hosted its official grand opening, with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles; state Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson; Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro; and Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan in attendance.

DriveIT will teach data science, cybersecurity, business intelligence, software architecture and cloud computing, allowing midcareer people to strengthen their information technology skills and education.

DriveIT’s executives and local government officials also see the training center as an economic development tool to recruit businesses to the region.

“Silicon Valley, watch out! We’re coming after ya, OK?” Shapiro quipped in addressing the opening celebration. “We have serial entrepreneurs that not only know their craft, but are willing to take that to a community as a whole and say, ‘We’re here.’ ”

Information technology is used by almost every business, she said, and DriveIT will help build a pipeline of talent. “That helps us attract even more. That catches fire,” she said.

Horrigan said he thinks the Akron region is doing the kinds of economic development and technology things seen in places such as New York and Boston.

“They’re not doing anything that we’re not doing,” he said. “I think that we just need to brag about it a little more and maybe become a little more organized.”

Ryan called DriveIT a public-private partnership that can help the Midwest compete with the likes of Silicon Valley.

DriveIT’s training also will help the United States compete against the likes of China, which continues to expand in influence around the world, he said.

“This is going to help us be competitive in the fierce, fierce global economy,” Ryan said.

Eric Wise, DriveIT co-founder and chief executive officer, said his business is fundamentally about curriculum.

DriveIT is partnering with local employers to upgrade employee skills and knowledge, he said. Companies simply cannot fire their current staff and bring in all-new people with needed skills, he said.

“The new people aren’t out there,” Wise said. “You have to invest in your workforce.”

DriveIT will offer what it said will be eight to 12 “experiential” learning programs each month designed for professionals in entry and midlevel positions.

Individuals as well as businesses and organizations will be able to buy memberships to take courses — a model similar to what gymnasiums and fitness centers offer.

“We’ll produce world-class data specialists and cybersecurity specialists,” said Eric Ward, DriveIT’s chief learning officer.

DriveIT’s roots and inspiration trace back to the Software Craftsmanship Guild, an Akron “boot camp” that taught software coding out of Canal Place to meet growing business demand for coders. The guild was purchased in 2015 by Kentucky-based Learning House Inc. Wise, DriveIT’s CEO, was also co-founder of the guild boot camp.

Reporter Jim Mackinnon covers business and county government. He can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ