Raimondo, Paiva Weed, Grebien Welcome LaunchCode to Help Rhode Islanders Build Skills and Compete for Open IT Positions

State of Rhode Island Press Release / March 1, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo today welcomed LaunchCode, a tech talent placement nonprofit and Real Jobs RI job-training partner, to Rhode Island. She discussed how the state is helping employers meet their IT skills shortages and helping workers build the skills they need to compete for these open positions. If you missed the event, you can check out a link to the live feed on Facebook.

The Governor was joined by Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed, Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien, Department of Labor and Training Director Scott R. Jensen, Dean Lori Ciccomascolo of the University of Rhode Island's College of Continuing Education, officials from LaunchCode and TechHire Rhode Island - the state's tech talent pipeline - and Kenzan, a cutting-edge software engineering and professional services firm in Pawtucket.

"Our economy is shifting rapidly and is increasingly driven by technology," Raimondo said. "Our priority is helping Rhode Islanders build the skills they need to get good paying jobs. As part of this effort, we are participating in President Obama's TechHire initiative and working with LaunchCode to prepare people to compete for open positions in the IT sector in our state." Read More

How to Beat the Bots

by Tom Friedman
The New York Times / June 10, 2015

So here’s an interesting statistic from a 2014 labor survey by burning-glass.com: 65 percent of new job postings for executive secretaries and executive assistants now call for a bachelor’s degree, but “only 19 percent of those currently employed in these roles have a B.A.” So four-fifths of secretaries today would not be considered for two-thirds of the job postings in their own field because they do not have a four-year degree to do the job they are already doing! The study noted that an “increasing number of job seekers face being shut out of middle-skill, middle-class occupations by employers’ rising demand for a bachelor’s degree” as a job-qualifying badge — even though it may be irrelevant, or in no way capture someone’s true capabilities, or where perhaps two quick online courses would be sufficient.

This is just one of the problems contributing to unemployment and underemployment today. It was the subject of a seminar last Thursday jointly convened by New America, McKinsey, LinkedIn and Opportunity@Work, a new civic group led by Byron Auguste, who headed President Obama’s recent efforts to reform the education-to-work pathway in America. Read More

We Need to "Re-wire" the Labor Market

by Byron Auguste & Tyra Mariani
Medium / Updated November 24, 2015

How do we ensure that motivated Americans get the skills they need to find meaningful work, to thrive in the workplace, and to move forward in our job market?

We need to ask deeper questions about our labor market’s role in upward mobility (or immobility), because the way we assess unemployment and underemployment doesn’t tell the full story of the U.S. economy’s loss of dynamism in the past 15 years. For example, how many people are engaged by the work they do, and see a career path ahead of them? Who can clearly say: If I make the extra effort to do X, I can learn Y, and then be hired or promoted into job Z? How many can confidently quit their current job to take a better one?

Too many Americans lack that confidence, because when it comes to work, they are “stuck” without a way to translate their best efforts into economic progress. This situation undermines U.S. economic dynamism and growth, because human capital — the most valuable asset on America’s economic balance sheet — is not realizing its full value. Read More

The Wildly Ambitious Future of the Job Search

by Rick Wartzman
Fortune Work 3.0 / March 19, 2015

For years, businesses across America have groused that they can’t find enough qualified workers, while others have questioned whether the “skills gap” is a myth.
Amid this tired debate, it’s easy to miss the fact that many of the smartest people trying to shape the working world have moved on. They have begun to view the problem as an information gap between companies looking for capable workers and individuals struggling to land a decent job.
Driving this shift is the belief that both workers and companies stand to benefit if it’s easier for them to identify each other—and if they’re also on the same page in terms of the skills and training required to fill particular positions.
“The idea is to make all of this simpler, less expensive, and more automatic” for the employer and the employee, says Byron Auguste, co-founder of Opportunity@Work, a new nonprofit aimed at “rewiring the U.S. labor market.” Read More