President Obama recently introduced an initiative designed to help fill the 500,000 vacant jobs In America that require tech skills. Known as the TechHire Initiative, it aims to convince corporate America that a traditional four-year degree in computer science shouldn’t be a prerequisite to hiring individuals with IT expertise.
Obama said that it turns out it doesn’t matter where you learned code, it just matters how good you are at writing it. If you can do the job, you should get the job.
It’s a common sense concept but for anyone that has ever tried to get a job in a field that doesn’t match their degree, it can certainly be an uphill battle. Much like using a simple credit score to determine loan worthiness, looking only at a college degree (or lack of one) is a stubborn and lazy way to go about hiring.
Part of the initiative is to develop a standard tech aptitude test that’ll be free for employers and non-traditional training centers with the hopes of making it easier for companies – especially those that aren’t necessarily related to IT like healthcare or financial services – to hire IT professionals. After all, two-third of the open tech jobs are in non-IT fields.
It’s a group effort that involves local governments as well as private companies in more than 20 communities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Albuquerque and Memphis.
The president also set aside $100 million that the Department of Labor can use to fund programs that help underrepresented groups such as minorities and veterans attain tech jobs.