President Obama is launching a new program to get more people into technology-related jobs as part of his plan to boost higher-income employment.
The new TechHire initiative is a partnership between the administration, tech companies and a whole bunch of cities to provide training and job placement in the world of tech. The idea is to not only get the thousands of open tech jobs in the U.S. filled, but to use them as a way to get people jobs that pay better than what they might otherwise be able to get.
“The average salary in a job that requires information technology (IT) skills – whether in manufacturing, advertising, retail or banking – is 50 percent higher than the average private-sector American job,” The White House said.
People will get the training for tech jobs thanks to training programs created by a new $100 million fund that will connect trained workers with employers and let companies arrange training programs for new hires. The money will also make it possible for companies to hire people with disabilities and arrange care for those with children, widening the pool of potential hires.
“Employers across the United States are in critical need of talent with these skills,” the White House said. “Many of these roles do not require a four-year computer science degree.”
There will also be a less traditional kind of training. Companies are working with government agencies to build “coding bootcamps,” fast, intensive training courses in useful technical skills. The camps will be aimed particularly at those who might otherwise have trouble getting the skills needed for higher-paying tech jobs.
The bootcamps will “provide intensive training for well-paying jobs, often in the course of just a few months – to low-income and underserved Americans including women, minorities, and veterans across the nation,” the White House said. “National organizations are committing to work with interested cities to share job and skills information, job-matching tools, and other resources to help support the growth, adoption, and creation of promising practices across the United States.”
Major tech companies are getting involved in the program too. Microsoft is one of the companies running the bootcamps, General Assembly is working with community colleges to standardize tech training and LinkedIn is providing data for free about IT skills supply and demand to help determine the most useful skills for people in the program to train in.
One program, even one of this size, won’t fix all of the wage stagnation issues facing the country. But it could very well improve the lives of a lot of people in the U.S. who lack the opportunity to get trained in tech skills. And of course it benefits the tech companies, plenty of which have complained about a desperate need for more tech talent, usually in conjunction with urging immigration reform to bring more skilled workers to the U.S. from other countries.
“Helping more Americans train and connect to these jobs is a key element of the President’s middle-class economics agenda,” the White House said.