President Obama Announces TechHire Initiative to Boost High-Tech Training and Employment
On March 9, President Barack Obama announced the launch of the TechHire initiative, a multi-sector effort to help workers gain the skills needed for and connect with the increasing number of well-paying technology jobs in the United States. The initiative aims both to spur higher-income employment and to help meet the fast-growing demand for high-tech workers across the country.
Key elements of the initiative include:
- Community partnerships to help expand access to tech jobs. More than 20 communities, including eastern Kentucky and Chattanooga, Tennessee, have committed thus far to working with each other and with national employers to find new ways to recruit and place applicants based on their actual skills and to create more fast-track tech training opportunities.
- New federal investments to train workers for and connect them with jobs in technology and other in-demand fields. The administration will launch a $100 million U.S. Department of Labor grant competition to support innovative approaches to training and successfully employing individuals with barriers to training and employment. The competition will target joint initiatives by employers, training institutions, and local governments and will support the use of evidence-based strategies such as accelerated learning, work-based learning, and Registered Apprenticeships.
- Private-sector tools and resources to support and expand continued innovation in technology training, with a focus on reaching underserved populations. Private-sector leaders will provide access to free online training and expand intensive "coding bootcamp" training programs to serve low-income and underserved Americans across the country.
The TechHire initiative builds on work communities have already started to connect workers to technology jobs. In Appalachian Kentucky, the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program is leading regional efforts to bring together educational groups, nonprofits, and employers to develop strategies to make accelerated IT training and jobs available. Partners in the effort include the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative, Bit Source, the Rural UP! Code Academy, and the Center for Rural Development. In Chattanooga, an employer IT task force will determine the skills needed by the region's employers, and training partners such as Chattanooga State Technical Community College, A.I.R. Labs, the Public Education Foundation, and TN Code Academy/Girls Who Code will establish goals for recruiting and training diverse and nontraditional candidates to fill tech positions. To help support and extend Chattanooga's TechHire efforts to benefit rural counties in the region, the Southeast Tennessee Development District will provide IT training and apprenticeship opportunities.