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Tech Industry Committed to the U.S. Workforce

More and more, American jobs are calling for a new set of skills, ranging from computer science and advanced manufacturing to coding and machine learning. As the workplace evolves and millions of new jobs are created, ensuring current and future American workers have the training, skills and education they need to get a good-paying job is a national imperative that requires immediate attention.

This week, ITI joined a diverse group of companies, including member companies, at the White House to watch President Trump sign an executive order to address this growing need across the country. As part of the announcement, several companies signed a commitment -- called the “Pledge to the American Worker” -- to create new opportunities for Americans to get the training and skills they need to thrive in the 21st century workforce. These efforts will be guided by the National Council for the American Worker, a new group tasked creating a nationwide strategy for investing training workers in industries that have a high workforce potential, including tech.

As the global voice of the tech industry, ITI is proud to be part of this important moment, and we look forward to using this opportunity to build on tech’s efforts in investing in the American workforce.

Our industry continues to lead the effort to train mid-career workers so they can adapt their skills to meet the demands of the changing workplace. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020, more than five million jobs in fields like manufacturing and customer service will transition to jobs like web development, computer support specialists, and system support technicians. At the same time, demand for jobs with tech skills such as coding, cloud computing, and mobile development keeps growing, with jobs that require coding skills growing 50 percent faster than the market overall. To address these needs, tech companies are increasingly turning to retraining mid-career workers, giving them a pathway to the jobs of the future.

For example, IBM launched a Career Re-Entry Program to help women who are re-entering their careers. The program partners with Society of Women Engineers, iRelaunch, and other groups to create a 12-week internship program. Interns are placed at IBM, matched with a mentor, and assigned a project, giving women an easier transition back to working full time and valuable work experience that can help them when applying to full time job in tech -- at IBM or another company.

We know jobs that call for these skills will continue to grow at a rapid pace. To keep up and close the skills gap, tech continues to invest in science, tech, engineering and math-focused education efforts to prepare the next generation of workers and build a 21st century workforce. While young people tend to be more tech savvy than older generations, we need to make sure we are building concrete skills that can be used throughout their careers.

Initiatives like IBM’s Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools, also known as P-TECH schools, expose students to careers and education in technology through a no-cost six-year program. After graduation, students are able to continue their education or go on to a “new collar” job -- high-skilled jobs that don’t require a four-year bachelor’s degree, such as an associate analyst or digital design developer -- that uses those skills and education.

But to best serve and prepare the American workforce, this must be a nationwide effort that spans across private and public sectors. Today’s announcement by the White House is an important step forward. We applaud the Administration for prioritizing retraining and reskilling initiatives, and echo its call for Congress to modernize and pass the Carl D. Perkins Act, which will help countless young Americans get the skills they need for 21st century jobs.

The jobs of tomorrow are arriving today, and we must continue to work together and build on these efforts to ensure Americans workers aren't left behind.

Public Policy Tags: Skills/STEM