President Obama Announces TechHire Initiative and Microsoft NYC Tech Jobs Academy

| MSNY Staff

President Obama Announces TechHire Initiative and Microsoft NYC Tech Jobs Academy

Let’s start with some good news: After 60 straight months of private-sector job growth, the unemployment rate across the United States has dropped to 5.5%. However, for those with less education, the rate remains higher. For those without technical skills, the rate remains even higher. And while unemployment has fallen, wage growth has been muted.

Microsoft was founded to empower people through technology. The successes of the PC revolution, the Internet revolution, and now the mobile revolution have done just that. But as technology becomes woven ever more deeply into the fabric of our work and our lives, that leads to an evolution in the skills that people and businesses need to thrive. Studies and companies tell us that US businesses are eager to hire those with tech skills. In New York City, for example, tech jobs pay 49% more than the average non-tech hourly wage. So it seems that our challenge and our opportunity are one and the same: to deliver tech skills to those people in need, and then deliver those newly-skilled people to those companies in need.

President Obama Announces TechHire Initiative and Microsoft NYC Tech Jobs Academy

Today, in a speech to dozens of mayors at the annual National League of Cities conference in Washington, DC, President Barack Obama announced the White House’s new TechHire Initiative to deliver employable technical skills to adults in communities across the country. As part of TechHire, an initial 20 cities are committing to pilot new and innovative approaches while sharing lessons learned with one another, in order to identify the most impactful approaches that can be scaled in communities across the country. Companies and educational institutions have stepped up too. In recent years, Microsoft’s YouthSpark Initiative has delivered tech literacy and job skills to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. In the US alone, Microsoft’s IT Academy curriculum has reached millions of students. Yet despite a robust network of 4-year universities and 2-year community colleges and the availability of high-quality curricula, we still see too few of our young adults entering the workforce with the mix of technical skills and project-based experience that employers want. In particular, entire groups of people are underrepresented in the tech workforce, including women, blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans. We can do better. While we should improve our existing education pathways, we can also create new ones.

That’s where the Microsoft NYC Tech Jobs Academy comes in. Based on Microsoft’s success in designing and delivering accelerated learning programs to members of the military using IT Academy curricula in combination with project-based learning, soft skills, hands-on instruction, and mentorship, the Tech Jobs Academy will give access to this type of training to unemployed and underemployed young adults in New York City. The program content will be agile and responsive to the changing needs of industry. Microsoft is working with thousands of companies in the New York area to identify which skills they need most in their workforces, to then train participants with those specific skills through an intensive full-time learning that takes months, not years. Finally, the program will match participants with companies in need for internships, job interviews, or full-time employment.

We’ve seen this approach to work with men and women of our military. We believe there are thousands more in New York and across the country who are likewise yearning for opportunity. As the White House’s new TechHire Initiative aims to spread best practices throughout the country, we’re proud that the Microsoft NYC Tech Jobs Academy will be a cornerstone in the effort.

To learn more about the TechHire Initiative, read the White House’s fact sheet here.

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

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MSNY Staff