it-professonalsThe tech industry is a part of nearly all industries and reaches every corner of the globe. In the United States alone, the gross output of the technology sector exceeds that of the legal services, automotive, airline, motion picture, hospitality, and restaurant industries, to name a few. The majority of IT professionals (56%) work outside of the tech sector, and are instead employed by hospitals, manufacturers, banks, and every other sector of the economy.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow nearly twice as fast as the overall rate of employment growth during the 2016-2026 period. In 2017, tech occupation employment reached 7.4 million workers in the United States. link-1-2 Yet in a typical year, there are as many as a million or more job postings — signaling strong demand from employers. It also raises questions about how serious the skills gap is and whether we are myopically restricting the search for talent to the coasts and traditional tech markets. With nearly 1.3 million tech workers expected to retire or separate from the tech workforce during the 2016-2026 time period, we must determine what we can do to prepare workers – especially those who have been most displaced in the Midwest and other traditional manufacturing hubs — to fill these jobs.

Too many American workers are reticent – lack the confidence– to take on a job in the technology industry for fear of having to learn new skills or simply because they do not see people who look like themselves working in the industry. We must address not only a skills gap but a “confidence gap,” and grow the talent pool by giving students and workers the chance to learn from someone who inspires them or shares a similar background, career pathway, or was similarly fearful of having to learn new skills at one time.

The Center will ask: what skills can we teach now that will prepare workers for the jobs of the future? What are the most effective methods of training and education for building a tech workforce? How can we attract people to a tech career and prepare our nation to fill the jobs of the future? How can tech help those areas that have been left behind to rise up? What policies and practices would we adopt now to ensure our workers are prepared for the short and long-term?
For more information about the confidence gap, see our recent study here. If you would like to join us in this work or have questions about the Center, contact us here.