BOSTON — March 24, 2021 — JFF, a national nonprofit driving transformation in the American workforce and education systems, announced today that it has received $10 million in U.S. Department of Labor funding to expand access to in-demand information technology roles through employer-validated credentials. In collaboration with Google and CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry and workforce, the Rapid IT Training and Employment Initiative will provide up to 1,800 people in Dallas, Denver, Omaha, Philadelphia, and San Francisco with high-quality training designed to prepare them for middle- and high-skill IT positions.

“Millions of displaced workers—disproportionately low-income heads of family, women, and men of color—are still facing the daunting task of reinventing themselves for new and, in many ways, unfamiliar jobs and industries. This moment is testing our resolve to not only rebuild our labor market, but to build something significantly better,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF. “This initiative will bring together the combined expertise, capacity, and resources of technology, industry, and organized labor to rapidly reskill workers for fast-growing tech jobs—and ultimately support a more equitable and inclusive economic recovery.”

Despite broader economic headwinds and declining labor force participation, employers report strong demand for IT professionals and tech talent. Domestic tech-related employment continued to grow in February, as technology companies added 7,700 workers, IT occupations in all sectors of the economy expanded by 178,000, and help-wanted ads for IT openings reached a 12-month high.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that IT occupations will continue growing for nearly a decade—at a rate of 11 percent through 2029—significantly faster than average industry growth. At the same time, the workforce faces notable disparities: women make up just over one quarter of the computing workforce and women of color make up only 4 percent.

To expand access to IT career paths, the initiative will focus on upskilling and reskilling workers without prior IT experience or a bachelor’s degree, providing them with opportunities to earn industry-validated credentials and gain experience through rigorous work-based learning. Workers in all five major metropolitan areas will receive access to the in-demand CompTIA A+ certification, one of Google’s five career certificates, or both credentials.

“Employment opportunities in IT are present in many industries and regions across the country,” said Mark Plunkett, the vice president of education services and business development at CompTIA Tech Career Academy. “With its mix of instruction, mentoring, paid work-based learning, and professional certification, this collaborative effort led by JFF is the right solution to prepare hundreds of individuals eager for new career opportunities in IT.”

“Employer-backed credentials like the Google Career Certificates provide a meaningful alternative for underserved communities where traditional education is not a viable option,” said Hector Mujica, economic opportunity lead at Google.org. “We have been collaborating with JFF for years to advance the sector in the deployment of credentials and wraparound support, and are proud they will continue to leverage their learnings and Google content to provide many more people with pathways to the digital economy.”

To design and scale the new initiative, JFF has assembled a diverse network of corporate, labor, education, and nonprofit organizations. In addition to Google and CompTIA, these include the National Association of Workforce Boards, the AFL-CIO Working for America Institute, the Colorado Community College System (Denver), JEVS Human Services (Philadelphia), Metropolitan Community College (Omaha), Redemption Bridge (South Dallas), and TechSF (San Francisco).

Each local site will help identify potential candidates, provide case management and support services, and engage with regional employers to place participants in tech jobs with established career pathways. JFF will tap into its deep expertise in the IT sector and tech workforce planning and development, providing insight on best practices, support for research and evaluation, implementation of work-based learning opportunities, and sharing of results with other experts and practitioners in workforce development nationwide.

About JFF: JFF is a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems. For more than 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. www.jff.org

For more information, please contact JFF’s Communications team at media@jff.org.

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