New JPMorgan Chase Report Reveals Uncertainty Over How Well Tech Training Programs Are Meeting Employers Needs
The report looks past the hype of the tech worker boom by charting the growth of and challenges facing tech training programs and evaluating what efforts work best
NEW YORK (March 8, 2016) – With half a million technology jobs currently open and nearly two million similar new jobs expected to be created in the next decade, a new JPMorgan Chase & Co. report released today reveals that the rapidly growing and quickly evolving tech training field faces unique obstacles for developing the skilled and diverse workforce required to meet a growing need in our economy. Drawing on some of the first research to look beyond the hype surrounding the boom in tech hiring, the report identifies real challenges in tech training, including inconsistent reporting and a shortage of data to measure the outcomes of training programs. It also analyzes new developments and improvements that could move to strengthen the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) training.
The report, “Tech Jobs for All? Exploring the Promise and Pitfalls of Technology Training in the United States,” is a comprehensive look at programs designed to teach ICT skills, from apprenticeships to online courses to bootcamps. As part of JPMorgan Chase’s $250 million, five-year New Skills at Work initiative to address the mismatch between employer needs and the skills of job seekers, the report is the first resource of its kind to classify and offer accessible information on what types of ICT training programs exist, the different talent development needs these programs seek to meet and lessons from the tech training field.
“There’s a presumption that anyone can have a technology job, but there is ongoing uncertainty over whether tech training programs are successfully creating a skilled workforce that meets employers’ needs,” said Chauncy Lennon, of Workforce Initiatives, JPMorgan Chase. “The only way we’re going to know if they’re working is to ground claims of success in data, which is an ongoing challenge as more training programs continue to be developed. This report identifies the challenges, including the need for better data, to ensure rapidly developing training programs provide trainees with the skills to succeed.”
Tech Training Challenges
In addition to the problems faced by traditional workforce development programs, such as strong employer connections, the report finds tech training programs face exclusive and exacerbated challenges. These unique challenges include:
- Lack of Data for Evaluation: The relative newness of these training programs means there is little or no data, or standards for reporting it, for employers, prospective participants or funders to know what programs or methods are successful. The data most training programs release do not show whether graduates take jobs in the field or whether they are still employed several years later.
- Rigid Hiring Requirements: While the increasing consensus is that a college degree is not needed for most tech jobs, many companies still require them for job candidates and are slow to change how they evaluates candidates. Despite this, there’s increasing consensus that training can give job seekers the skills they need to succeed.
- Lack of Diversity: Despite efforts to increase diversity, African-Americans and Latinos are still underrepresented in tech training programs.
- Rapidly Changing Sector Needs: The fast-developing tech world makes it difficult for programs to predict the needs of companies years, or even months, in advance. The needs of employers or the field in general – can adjust in the time it takes a student to complete a training program. For example, the creation of a new coding language can change market demand.
As a key component of the “Tech Jobs for All” report, five models of tech training programs are identified and explored in detail, including traditional K-12 and postsecondary education, bootcamps, online courses, internships and apprenticeships, and programs that combine many of these methods into a single training program.
“Understanding the tech training landscape is a first step to ensuring a healthy training ecosystem,” said Byron Auguste, Managing Director of Opportunity@Work. “From here, we need to ensure that all participants in tech training have ways to demonstrate to employers the skills they’ve mastered, and that before investing time or money into these programs individuals and institutions have publicly available, standardized data on learning outcomes and job placement rates to choose effective training programs that will help achieve their goals.”
Employers and intermediaries are also playing important roles in workforce development. In order to match training to their needs, the report finds there is room for improved signaling from employers. At the same time, other intermediary organizations can help bridge the information gap between trainers and employers.
As tech training continues to expand to meet growing employer demand, the report offers several best practices and opportunities to help improve the field as a whole:
- New Pathways: Developing new opportunities for more participants to enter tech training jobs by introducing more people to technology as a career or providing people with the skills they need to enter training programs.
- Skills Matching: Working directly with employers to ensure that trainees’ skills correlate directly to employer needs.
- System of New Credentials: Creating innovative tools for programs and participants to clearly signal to employers that they have desired skills, either through certifications, portfolios or standardized curricula.
- Intentional Efforts to Support Diversity: Making an effort to create or support programs with the goal of including students from disadvantaged or underrepresented communities.
- Institutionalized Data Collection: Ensuring that programs collect and report standardized and quality data to better measure and improve the success of individual programs as well as the field as a whole.
- Creating a Hub: Forming a system for effective communication toward collaboration, ensuring that programs meet actual need, and expand, replicate, and share best practices.
About the Report
This JPMorgan Chase report is a qualitative analysis of tech training programs of differing types authored by Freedman Consulting, LLC. The report draws from an array of data gathered through extensive background research on existing programs and in-depth interviews with over 30 experts in tech training, including practitioners, government officials, employers and participants.
About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.