Needs Within IT Can Be Filled Through Tech Pathway
I hear about dozens of local IT jobs from the newspaper want ads to job postings on the Michigan Talent Bank to word of mouth and chatter on social media. The job postings circulate and some are filled, but plenty go unfilled.
It’s clear local IT employers have encountered some level of difficulty with their hiring and that we are facing a talent shortage in this industry. More than 200 jobs in the information technology industry go unfilled each month, and occupations in this industry are expected to grow 12 percent between 2006 and 2016. But without qualified employees, the sector won’t meet the anticipated growth given today’s economy.
The Capital Area IT Council, Capital Area Michigan Works!, Lansing Community College and other partners will be able to provide an answer to the IT sector’s talent shortage through a $4.4 million U.S. Department of Labor grant. This funding is designated for the development and implementation of training programs in information technology. The program will fully utilize the partners to best answer questions such as: what IT jobs need to be filled, how we train and educate the workforce for these positions and how we can best place these newly skilled individuals with local IT employers.
The Capital Area Tech Knowledge E-Pathways program is a free, career transition program designed to meet the current and future workforce needs of the information technology industry in the Greater Lansing area. The program is designed to help unemployed or underemployed individuals contribute to and benefit from regional IT growth by providing education, training and job placement assistance. The Capital Area Tech Knowledge E-Pathways program includes a two-year computer programmer analyst associate’s degree program, an expanded two-year computer science associate’s degree program and a one-year software testing certificate through Lansing Community College, as well as short-term technical training through local IT employers. These education and training options will prepare participants for high- demand occupations such as software testers/QA professionals, computer engineers, software developers, or will route them on a secure pathway to a four-year computer science degree.
Local IT employers have been involved in the process from the beginning of the grant and are heavily supporting the program. The program represents a demand-driven system where employers identified an array of skills they are looking for and the training models being provided have been developed around their needs. Each year, the short-term technical training programs will vary depending on what the IT employers have identified as employable skill sets for potential new hires. This allows flexibility to the employers in order to address their current and future workforce needs.
“This program is addressing the talent shortage through a supply and demand model. For local IT employers who are in need of a particular skills set and aren’t finding it, we can provide free technical training to individuals to help fill that gap,” says Andrea Ragan, executive director of the Capital Area IT Council.
These are high-demand, high-wage positions and through the Capital Area Tech Knowledge E-Pathways program, we will train more than 300 individuals over the course of four years, who will help our IT sector reach its growth potential.
To learn more about participating as a job seeker or employer, visit epathways.org.
Douglas E. Stites is chief executive officer of Capital Area Michigan Works!, a network of resources that partners with businesses to develop recruiting and retention strategies and partners with job seekers to enhance education and career opportunities. On the Web at www.camw.org.
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