- New York City-based nonprofit Civic Hall has been awarded a $2 million grant by Cognizant Technology's U.S. Foundation to launch a digital skills training pilot program for local workers, Crain's New York Business reports.
- Civic Hall announced the initiative as part of the groundbreaking of its new 80,000-square-foot headquarters, set to open in 2020 near New York's Union Square, Crain's said. The facility will include at least 15 classrooms to be shared by digital-skills training providers from the nonprofit sector. The pilot program, developed in partnership with nonprofit Per Scholas, will seek to develop training programs in areas like cybersecurity and AI with assistance from tech companies, according to the report.
- Civic Hall founder Andrew Rasiej spoke with Crain's about the plan to involve tech companies in developing training, saying that coding in particular has been "the skill-du-jour over the past five years." The pilot program will be initially launched with 150 students and will be split into two parts over a two-year period, Crain's said, with employers helping to determine which subject areas each part will focus on.
Across almost every industry, digital skills and fluency are becoming must-haves for employers. In skilled manufacturing, service industries and traditionally tech-oriented companies, job growth continues to increase while talent pools shrink.
The skills gap for STEM workers is causing businesses and educators to reach out to underserved populations as they look to capture the interest of learners, sometimes as early as the elementary school level. Some major players in the industry have even launched their own STEM high schools to develop a steady stream of workers for future need.
Experts predict that, at current rates, demand will continue to outweigh supply in STEM fields, and business can expect growth to continue to hit a wall until more students can be trained and workers hired. Some observers have called for a rebranding of STEM fields and occupations to better attract a larger interest base among students. But there are still indicators that women and minority groups continue to feel discrimination in these industries, inhibiting diversity gains (and revealing opportunity for agile employers).