President Barack Obama’s program to coordinate technology
training between city and state partners, local employers, and nonprofit
organizations to speed up the hiring of people with in-demand skills has
expanded to 50 cities and states nationwide.
The House announced March 9 that the TechHire
Initiative to train U.S. workers for technology jobs has added 15 new cities
and states and gained 200 more employer partners, for a total of 600. Since the
program’s launch in March 2015, thousands of people have been trained and
placed into high-paying tech jobs, according to the House.
The program was started to help improve the technology skills
among the U.S. workforce, bring down unemployment and meet urgent employer
“Developing the tech skills of our workforce is important for
our economic future and is a critical need for employers today,” the
administration said. “Over half a million of today’s open jobs are in
technology fields like software development and cybersecurity—many of which did
not even exist a decade ago.”
According to the House, unfilled IT jobs make up about
12 percent of the approximately 5 million job openings in the country, making
IT the largest occupational category for open jobs.
And a lot of these jobs don’t require a four-year degree in
computer science or engineering, Obama said. Instead, “hundreds of thousands of
these jobs require skills that can be learned not only in universities, but
also in community colleges, in industry-certified training programs, in ‘coding
boot camps’ or in high-quality online courses.”
The president also pointed out that two-thirds of
private-sector technology jobs are in non-IT industries. “Many are in
industries we don’t think of as part of the technology sector—in health care,
retail, manufacturing, financial services, energy or transportation,” he said.
Goal of the Program
The idea is that employers, training providers, colleges and
universities, and workforce development organizations can build accelerated
training programs that prepare people for IT work in months instead of years,
and then connect people to jobs with affiliated hiring programs. Employers are
being asked to review and upgrade their hiring practices to integrate
nontraditional hiring, share data on where they have the greatest needs and
what skills they are seeking, and create job-matching tools to ensure that
training leads to jobs.
Microsoft, Dev Bootcamp and Udacity said they will offer free
training services, while groups like General Assembly and Hackbright Academy
will work with community colleges to standardize education. These educational
organizations provide affordable and accessible skills training and an
The president’s plan also includes incentives to bring more
women, minorities, veterans and people with disabilities into technology
“Companies like Capital One are going to help recruit, train
and employ more new tech workers—not out of charity, but because it’s a smart
business decision,” Obama said.
In Rhode Island, which has been a TechHire participant since
August 2015, Governor Gina M. Raimondo set a goal of training and placing 2,000
workers in tech jobs over the next four years. She recently held an event
welcoming the nonprofit tech talent placement organization LaunchCode to the
state. She spoke about the public-private partnership necessary for success:
“It’s not enough just to train folks with relative skills.
Employers need to step up to the table to change the way and rethink the way
they’re searching [for job candidates] and to work with us in order to make
sure that this is successful.”
Presently, 35 participating companies in Rhode Island have
committed to reviewing their hiring practices, acknowledging that they need to
place workers with IT skills, regardless of the workers’ formal education.
Miami, Milwaukee Join
The newest TechHire additions include the cities of Atlanta,
Indianapolis, Miami, Milwaukee and Seattle, among others, and the states of
Hawaii and Virginia.
Fourteen community partners and more than 140 employers in
Miami have committed to train and place nearly 2,500 candidates into technology
jobs by the end of 2020, according to the House.
Miami-Dade County, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and
the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce said they will ensure that employers fulfill
their commitments to interview qualified candidates that graduate from the
program’s training partners.
Some of those training providers include the Idea Center at
Miami Dade College, Wyncode, Code Fever Miami, New Horizons, Florida Vocational
Institute, and the Academy of South Florida. Nonprofit organizations such as
CareerSource South Florida and LaunchCode have agreed to place job seekers in
The city of Milwaukee seeks to place 600 candidates by 2020.
The city’s Housing Authority and its Milwaukee TechForce Center will
participate by providing accelerated training for in-demand skills; graduates
of the training will be connected to paid internships, apprenticeships and
full-time jobs, city officials said.
Some of the community partners collaborating on the program
include the Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce, the Center for
Healthcare Careers of Southeastern Wisconsin, and IT United of the United Way
of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County.
You can find more
information about the TechHire Initiative and see if your city or state is