Local governments targeted by White House for IT training grants

Local governments targeted by White House for IT training grants

In an effort to combat unemployment and boost the number of technology jobs, the Obama administration announced on Nov. 17 new steps to channel $100 million in grants to IT job training.

The money will go to 30-40 grantees to pilot and scale partnerships between employers, labor groups, community colleges, local and state governments and others, the White House said. The grants are part of an initiative known as TechHire that President Obama announced in March.

The Obama administration sees an untapped opportunity in the IT market: Of the country's 5.5 million unfilled jobs, half a million are in IT, according to the White House.

"Opportunities abound in the IT field, not only in the current job openings but in future projections," Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez said on a call with reporters.

TechHire is an attempt to offer pathways to tech jobs other than four-year degrees, such as coding boot camps, which can be 10-12 weeks of software training. The White House said it is also looking to fund grantees that offer specialized training to help target populations overcome employment hurdles.

Half of the $100 million in TechHire grants will go to young people aged 17 to 29.

The White House also announced on Nov. 17 that the City of Baltimore is the 35th city or region to join the TechHire initiative. Charm City has a lot of IT upside, but much of it remains unfulfilled, according to its mayor.

"It's almost a tale of two cities, in the sense that many people in Baltimore can see the opportunities, but they can't find their way or see their way to them," Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) said on the call.

Baltimore has seen an "explosion" in tech firms, the mayor said. Yet the city still lags behind many across the country in economic mobility.

The White House will also announce another round of the Department of Labor's competitive grants program for training former convicts for jobs, including jobs in tech. This round of grants will be worth $20 million and span about 14 grants, the White House said.

A version of this article originally appeared on FCW, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Sean Lyngaas is an FCW staff writer covering defense, cybersecurity and intelligence issues. Prior to joining FCW, he was a reporter and editor at Smart Grid Today, where he covered everything from cyber vulnerabilities in the U.S. electric grid to the national energy policies of Britain and Mexico. His reporting on a range of global issues has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, The Economist, The Washington Diplomat and The Washington Post.

Lyngaas is an active member of the National Press Club, where he served as chairman of the Young Members Committee. He earned his M.A. in international affairs from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, and his B.A. in public policy from Duke University.

Click here for previous articles by Lyngaas, or connect with him on Twitter: @snlyngaas.


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