engineers meetIn an effort to get Americans back to work during the economic resurgence, President Obama announced a new program known as TechHire, which is designed to help citizens obtain well-paid jobs in the technology sector by increasing their STEM knowledge and connecting workers to the right opportunities and removing the barriers to these positions.

The announcement highlighted that in the most recent jobs report that showed America has about 5 million open jobs with over half a million openings in information technology fields such as software development, network administration, and cybersecurity. Even more importantly, these jobs are not minimum wage; they are well paying, salaried career opportunities…and require IT skills.

Interestingly enough, many of these jobs are new and did not even exist just a decade ago, which is why there are not enough workers with these specific skills to take on the roles.

According to the Oxford Economics Workforce 2020 survey report of global surveys in 27 countries during the second quarter of 2014—the results showed that lack of skills will in fact have an impact on the workforce of 2020 and contribute to the looming talent crisis. Of the respondents, 28 percent reported that lack of skilled talent is a major impediment to achieving workforce goals for the future.

But, this new initiative could be a catalyst to improving the workforce outlook and help transform the workforce and get more Americans back to work.

Some highlights of the program include:

  • Connecting companies and districts, which will work together to connect skilled workers to jobs.
  • Companies will launch “fast track” programs to help train these new employees.
  • Federal funding to the tune of $100 million will support training opportunities for low-skilled workers and those with childcare responsibilities and disabilities, and non-English speaking citizens.
  • The plan will encourage private companies to run “coding bootcamps” for women, veterans and minorities, which will provide extensive courses to help individuals obtain a four-year college degree-like education within a few months.
  • The plan is reported to have support from some big names in the tech world, including Microsoft, Cisco, and LinkedIn.

Another layer to this initiative is that companies that are participating will be making a commitment to the industry in more than one way.

These companies will:

  • Use data and innovative hiring practices to expand openness to non-traditional hiring
  • Expand training models that prepare students in months instead of years
  • Activate local leadership to connect people with jobs

While this program may not be the total solution to the looming talent crisis, it definitely supports the current Administration’s commitment to technology and is a way to help spark interest and expand knowledge within STEM.