A new initiative from the White House aims to increase Americans’ job skills in tech areas, and to speed up both training and hiring to get more Americans into well-paying jobs more quickly.
Today, only 16% of high school grads have both the interest and the math background to enter jobs — such as manufacturing — that require tech skills, according to government figures.
The most popular college majors include business, English, history, psychology, and a few trade-specific majors such as nursing and criminal justice. While our society needs people in all these fields, an English degree mostly prepares grads to be well-spoken barristas and discount store counter help.
Emphasis on encouraging students to embrace STEM fields is important, but Tech Hire is intended to help adults already in the workforce.
21 communities have been chosen to lead the charge, and Tech Hire encourages other communities to follow their lead. $100,000,000 in grant funds will be available to fund innovative programs for including underserved populations and those with challenges such as a need for child care or limited English skill.
Here are the goals:
- “Using data and innovative hiring practices to expand openness to non-traditional hiring.” That is, gathering data and using algorithms to match up employers and potential employees, instead of relying on word of mouth — which often means the Old Boys Club.
- “Expanding models for training that prepare students in months, not years.” More efficient training, with coding bootcamps or quick online training, will complement full-semester courses and four year degrees. These may be offered by colleges or by other organizations.
- “Active local leadership to connect people to jobs with hiring on ramp programs.” Communities need to get together with local employers, to extend the visibility of existing incubators, give camps, and career weekends, or to start these events if they’re not already in place.