As our economy recovers from the worst economic crisis in decades, good job opportunities abound. The latest data shows 5.5 million job openings out there. When you look at the industries that are contributing most to those job openings, some of the biggest areas are IT, cybersecurity, broadband, health care, and financial and educational services. They all have one thing in common: they demand that their workers have tech skills.
You know what I mean if you’ve ever seen the sophisticated electronic health records at your doctor’s office, or visited any advanced manufacturing facilities. They look nothing like the industrial factories I remember growing up in Buffalo. They’re driven by state-of-the-art computer systems … and those systems require workers trained with the skills to thrive in the technology jobs of today and tomorrow.
That’s what the president’s TechHire initiative is all about: making sure that everyone – no matter your ZIP code or your background – has access to training for the growing number of technology jobs.
— US Labor Department (@USDOL) November 17, 2015
Earlier this week I had a chance to visit Baltimore to celebrate their selection as one of 35 White House Tech Hire Communities, and to announce an exciting new $100 million TechHire Partnership Grant competition that will help take some of the most exciting training programs out there and tailor them to people who haven’t yet gotten the chance to develop their gifts and talents. These grants will benefit disconnected and at-risk youth, people with disabilities, individuals with limited English proficiency and ex-offenders. We are helping them get on a path to well-paying and high-growth jobs across our nation.
The grants will invests in boot camp-style programs, where a student enrolls in an intensive 10-12 week course and comes out with some critical skills. We’re investing in online options, which can make all the difference in the world to a young person who is half a day’s drive to a physical campus. These programs can provide people, no matter where they live, with all the skills they need to get a great job in just three months to two years.
And to be clear, we are also looking to help out those who have already received training and have the skills required for employment, but are being overlooked. We want to help them get the biggest return on the investment they made in themselves. We will help these folks find their way to a paid internship or registered apprenticeship that will allow them to get work experience and prove themselves to employers who are hiring.
After the announcement, I had the chance to talk with some students from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and see some of the projects they’re working on.
My daughters are quick to point out how long it’s been since I was in high school, and it’s certainly fair to say that my class schedule didn’t have a robotics component. With the help of TechHire, we’re changing that … and our nation’s workforce, employers and economy are going to see the benefits of that investment.