As an IT pro, you probably know that there are half a million IT consulting and direct hire jobs currently open in the United States. That number will increase if the tech industry continues to grow as projected. In fact, information and technology positions make up about 12% of current job openings and roles in software development, the hottest IT skill for 2015 is expected to increase 22% by 2020.
This is good news for you: your skills are highly valued and in high demand. But, you may also have felt the crunch of working on a project that’s understaffed. You may feel frustrated with the lack of diversity when it comes to the people you work with. The White House recently launched an initiative called TechHire to address the growing need for IT workers in the United States.
The White House’s recently released plan is aimed at making education in IT more readily available to Americans to help fill the gap between IT jobs and skilled IT workers. The goal is to help fill employer demand for talented people in the workforce while helping underserved communities with a program called TechHire Initiative. TechHire is offering 100 million dollars in grants to communities around the United States to implement its programs and objectives.
Minneapolis is among the twenty-one communities across the United States that have agreed to work alongside TechHire to implement three primary changes to education and hiring in their area. The City of Minneapolis, Concordia University, and several companies and non-profits within the Twin Cities have committed to expanding their hiring practices to hire those with non-traditional education and work experiences, create and expand training to prepare students in under a year, and connect these newly trained persons to jobs within the community. Specifically, Minneapolis will be expanding three tech training programs and connecting with sixty companies to help educate 300 people this year to help with the demand for skilled technology professionals.
More diversity. One of TechHire’s main initiatives is to help bring more minority populations and women into the information and technology field. Diversity in the workplace helps create a more innovative business and product. Also, a workplace without a dominate gender is a happier, more productive workplace, according to Matthew Heller at CFO.com. By giving learning and training opportunities to populations that currently and traditionally have had barriers to education, the Techhire initiatives should help add diversity to the IT workforce, and by extension, your workplace.
Mentoring opportunities. Have you been looking for opportunities to give back to the IT community? Many of the programs in Minneapolis are looking for professionals who are able to mentor students in the bootcamps and programs coming out of the TechHire initiative. The Creating IT Futures Foundations’ IT-Ready program, for example, is a free 8 week intensive course for individuals lacking opportunity and resources to pay for IT training and education. Like many similar programs, they’re looking for talented IT professionals who are willing to mentor students. Not only is mentoring a chance for you to give back, it’s a resume booster too.
Career advancement. Companies may be putting projects, expansions, and promotions on hold because they don’t have access to IT professionals. If this program is successful, Minneapolis could have an influx of skilled IT professionals with both non-traditional and traditional education backgrounds. After all, “It doesn’t matter where you learn to code, it should matter how good you are at writing code” (President Obama, March 9, 2015). More IT professionals in the workforce mean you can advance to the next tier or into a leadership position. In addition, more developers in the Twin Cities will help us continue to be a thriving tech hub—attracting companies to open satellite locations here, rather than in Austin or Seattle, and giving you more opportunities to pursue down the road.
TechHire is not a threat to your career but rather will create opportunity for your own advancement. TechHire’s goal is to get skilled workers from a variety of backgrounds into the job market as rapidly as possible. Get ready to welcome some new coworkers and think about mentoring aspiring IT professionals this year.
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