If you can do the job, you should get the job.
That’s what President Obama said when he announced TechHire over a year ago with 21 communities and 300 employers. The TechHire mission has been responsible for propelling thousands of Americans toward their passion and the middle class. Americans like Shadae, who had worked as a customer service manager earning $30,000 a year, but always had a passion for tinkering with computers and couldn’t afford to go to college. The Ada Developers Academy, which is part of the TechHire community, helped Shadae develop her skills, land an internship, and receive tailored support to become a web developer earning double her previous salary.
Since TechHire has launched, over 50 communities have been working diligently to bring thousands of more stories like this to life. There are over half a million unfilled jobs in information technology right now- that’s about 12% of the approximately 5 million job openings- making IT the largest occupational category for open jobs. Employers often hired based on an advanced degree, but many candidates who have the skills and motivation to perform these jobs do not have the academic pedigree to be considered; even though hundreds of thousands of these jobs require skills that can be learned not only in universities, but also in community colleges, industry certified training programs, “coding boot camps” or in high-quality online courses. This creates an opportunity gap between the employer and hopeful IT candidates like Shadae.
Launched in March 2015, TechHire’s goal is to bridge this gap. In a single year, TechHire has created partnerships with over a thousand employers to hire thousands of often overlooked Americans who have the skills and motivation, but lack the typical academic pedigree to work in the tech Industry. It’s been wildly successful and it’s just getting started.
And just this week, Vice President Biden and Department of Labor Secretary Perez announced 39 H1-B TechHire grants of $150 million to fund tech training in 25 states and help train tomorrow’s workforce, including $126 million to create pathways to careers for at-risk and out-of-school, out-of-work young Americans. Young Americans like Shadae, whose talent was overlooked because she lacked the college degree to be noticed.
With 39 partnerships that just received funding to help youth and underserved populations access training, we’re continuing to bridge the gap between employers and IT candidates, creating more inspiring stories like Shadae’s.
The TechHire movement is continuing to rapidly expand. It’s even moving into rural communities where people can’t imagine that they’d be part of the tech industry. This week, the administration also launched the South Central Appalachian TechHire, where the Appalachian Regional Commission, University of Virginia’s College at Wise, and private sector employers collaborate to develop a world-class ecosystem of tech talent in the heart of Appalachia. South Central Appalachia TechHire will prepare and place over 50 individuals into tech jobs over the next year, and 400 by 2020. South central Appalachia joins communities like Hawaii, New York City, Austin, and Akron, bringing to life its own inspiring story of training unemployed workers to become part of the tech industry. Similar communities, such as the TechHire community in East Kentucky, trained unemployed former coal miners to write computer code and transitioned to full time coders. In Minnesota, TechHire partners trained women and people of color to become software developers, computer programmers, quality assistant engineers, service desk analysists and user support specialists. TechHire Nebraska, helped nurture and create opportunities for people in rural Nebraska, who would not have considered going into the tech industry.
Again- TechHire is just getting started. The movement will continue to grow and expand; thousands more aspiring IT talents will be placed in rewarding jobs, and the opportunity gap between tech employers and talented motivated Americans will be closed. Congratulations to all the H1B Department of Labor grant recipients and new communities!