Earlier this week, Vice President Joe Biden and Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez announced the release of $150 million in TechHire grants, which will support 39 partnerships in 25 states across the U.S. The partnerships will fund programs to train and place workers in tech jobs. $24 million has been earmarked to help job seekers who have had trouble finding work, due limited English proficiency or criminal records, among other obstacles to employment.
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Last March, President Obama announced the creation of TechHire, which allows communities to work with employers to create a pipeline for developing tech talent. The program, which relies on federal and private funding, focuses on solutions like coding bootcamps, which promise relatively short on-ramps to the workforce – a few months of training, as opposed to two years for an associate degree or four for a bachelor’s.
Tech Jobs Pay … and They Don’t Necessarily Require a Four-Year Degree
The White House fact sheet on TechHire notes that “nearly 40 percent of tech jobs do not require a four-year degree,” and that “men and women with non-degree certificates in computer or information services earned more than 65 percent of men and women, respectively, with more traditional Associate degrees.”
Bootcamp graduates boosted their salary by $18,000 on average, a 38 percent increase, according to a survey from Course Report, quoted in the fact sheet.
A 2015 New York Times piece tells the story of several bootcamp graduates, including a 26-year-old former waiter who went from making $20,000 a year to over $100,000.
“Six figures, right off the bat,” Paul Minton told The Times. “To me, it was astonishing.”
Better Access for Non-Traditional Candidates
While $126 million of the grants will go toward strategies to help young Americans (meaning, those aged 17 to 29), the partnerships also focus on promoting opportunity for non-traditional candidates. The fact sheet lists four practices of the funded partnerships, including:
“Emphasize inclusion by leveraging the high demand for tech jobs and new training and hiring approaches to improve access to tech jobs for all citizens, including out-of-school and out-of-work young Americans, people with disabilities, people learning English as a second language, and people with criminal records.”
The partnerships also use data “to expand openness to non-traditional hiring” on the part of employers.
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