Update: Click here to access the recording of our Jan. 13 webinar and other grant resources.
Last week the Department of Labor announced the $100 million TechHire Partnership grant program, aimed at expanding accelerated tech training across the US.
The premise behind the TechHire initiative is simple: Many industries—not just information technology—are struggling to find workers with tech skills. Companies in advanced manufacturing, health care, finance, among others, embark every day on long searches for front-end developers, medical records technicians, and other IT-related workers.
Launched in March by President Obama, TechHire’s goal is for cross-sector partnerships to quickly train workers and connect them to well-paying, high-growth jobs. These jobs include both mid- and high-skilled positions in H1-B-related industries, with the intent to reduce the need for skilled foreign workers under the H1-B visa program.
TechHire encourages the development of short-term training and education programs at both colleges and universities and nontraditional coding boot camps. The DOL will award 30-40 grants, ranging from $2 million to $5 million each, to partnerships that include workforce boards, education providers, and businesses (all three must be represented).
This could be a wonderful opportunity for regions to infuse workers with relevant tech skills. But to do that, you have to craft a competitive grant application. How do grant applicants demonstrate that they’ll be training for quality, high-growth jobs? This is where labor market data comes in, and where Emsi can help.
On Dec. 8 and Jan. 13, we will host webinars that will walk through how to successfully incorporate workforce data in your grant application (sign up here for the Dec. 8 webinar and here for the Jan. 13 webinar).
Grant applications are due March 11, 2016, with an anticipated start date for winners of June 1, 2016 (see the funding announcement). Below, we’ve included more information about the grant program, how to determine high-growth jobs in your area, and the expectations for using data.
TechHire Grant Webinar Details
Title: How to Successfully Incorporate Labor Market Data in Your TechHire Grant Application
Time and dates: 2 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Dec. 8, and Wednesday, Jan. 13 (the same material will be covered in both sessions)
Summary: Emsi’s Doug Heckman and John Hawkins will walk through the TechHire Partnership grant program and discuss how to best incorporate labor market data in your grant application. The Department of Labor has mandated that data be used to demonstrate how your partnership will train for well-paying, high-growth occupations in H1-B industries.
- How to determine high-growth jobs in H1-B industries in your region
- How to break out high-growth jobs by skill level (particularly mid- and high-skill jobs)
- How to determine which training programs make the most sense for your region
- Best practices from colleges and workforce boards that have developed accelerated training programs
Determining High-Growth Jobs in Targeted Industries and Occupations
The grant application lays out a few criteria for defining and determining high-growth jobs:
- Those that are projected to add a significant number of new jobs
- Those being transformed by technology and innovation, requiring workers to acquire new skills
- Those that have a significant impact on the economy or the growth of other industries and occupations.
As mentioned, the DOL wants partnerships to train for well-paying jobs, either mid-skilled or high-skilled. And the training must be targeted to “support occupations for which H1-B visas have been certified, or other occupations in industries in which a significant number of H1-B visas are certified” (page 8).
The announcement lists the following H-1B industries that are using a significant number of visas to hire foreign workers:
- IT and IT related industries such as cyber security and broadband
- Health care
- Advanced manufacturing
- Financial services
- Educational services
Emphasizing Cross-Sector Partnerships
The Department of Labor, as we noted above, has mandated that partnerships include representatives from three entities:
- A workforce development board or entity administering the workforce investment system
- An education and training provider, including nontraditional providers of boot camp-style programs—with a note that the DOL is “especially interested” in partnerships that include more than one training provider
- A business-related nonprofit organization, a consortium of three businesses, or at least three independent businesses
Emsi works closely with each of these groups, providing labor market and education data and consulting services. So we’re glad to see that TechHire is bringing education, workforce, and industry together.
Specifically for workforce boards, this grant opportunity also fits well with WIOA legislation that requires collaboration and use of labor market information (as well as encouraging WDBs to seek other funding streams such as grants).
How does the DOL see workforce boards fitting into TechHire partnerships? The grant announcement lists six ways, the first of which is providing labor market data expertise to understand the need for education and training in the local area.
From page 17 of the announcement:
These organizations have expertise in workforce development and may provide leadership in implementing the following types of activities: 1) understanding and analyzing the need for education and training in the local area, including identifying targeted industries, occupations, regional clusters, and hiring needs, and populations to be served, and providing relevant sources of data, including labor market information, and other tools or reports; 2) assessing potential participants for the grant program; 3) identifying and referring candidates for education and training in the grant program; 4) providing additional supportive services; 5) connecting and placing participants with employers that have job openings; and 6) collecting, tracking, and reporting participant data to ETA.
TechHire has emphasized nontraditional ways to get people trained for tech jobs. As Secretary of Labor Tom Perez wrote on his blog, these grants will invest in boot camp-style programs, “where a student enrolls in an intensive 10-12 week course and comes out with some critical skills. We’re investing in online options, which can make all the difference in the world to a young person who is half a day’s drive to a physical campus. These programs can provide people, no matter where they live, with all the skills they need to get a great job in just three months to two years.”
It should be noted that in many regions, community colleges and workforce boards are leading the charge in coming up with innovative programs. Here are just two examples:
Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York, has established accelerated certificate programs to train machinists and other high-demand technical occupations. Monroe has seen such success that Vice President Joe Biden has visited its Applied Technologies Center (read our case study).
South Central Tennessee Workforce Alliance, prompted by seeing local data from Emsi that showed a huge need for app developers and other programmers in its area, hosted code camps across rural Tennessee. More than 100 kids, ages 12-18, took part in a one-week workshop in five communities. The camps gave the kids a sense of how to make a living as a coder.
SCTWA has also hosted advanced manufacturing camps to help children understand potential career paths.
Sign up for Webinars
For more information, email Joshua Wright. Learn more about what Emsi does for community colleges and workforce development organizations, and read about our data and services. Follow Emsi on Twitter (@DesktopEcon) or check us out on LinkedIn and Facebook.