On Monday, President Obama announced the White House’s new TechHire initiative to tackle the digital literacy gap in the United States. Speaking to the National League of Cities, Obama outlined a program to spread digital skills and connect qualified job seekers with hirers.
The president touched on a number of topics close to our Grovo Sapien hearts. We’ve spoken highly of the potential for community college and alternative credentialing in general to provide the digital skills that job seekers need. Obama endorsed both.
“Employers tend to recruit people with technology degrees from four year colleges. And that means sometimes they end up screening out good candidates who don’t necessarily have traditional qualifications. They may have learned at a community college, or they may have served in our military. They’ve got the talent, but employers are missing them.” (More importantly, we might add, they have the skills.) “So TechHire communities are going to help employers link up and find and hire folks based on their actual skills and not just their resumes.”
Giving a shout-out to us in the world of fast and effective educational technology, Obama praised “online courses that have pioneered new ways to teach tech skills in a fraction of the time and the cost.” These tools bring “new models [that] have the potential to reach underserved communities.”
Certainly Capital One agrees, having tabbed Grovo to design and help deliver a free and open digital literacy course to thousands of underserved Americans. For its efforts, and its $150 million Future Edge program, the president gave them some love. “Companies like Capital One are going to help recruit, train, and employ more new tech workers, not out of charity but because it’s a smart business decision. All of this is going to help match the job to the worker.”
Lastly, President Obama offered a helpful explainer on the type of occupations that we hope to see reinvigorated by the Future Edge program, middle-skill jobs. “Understand that within the tech sector, there are going to be tiers of jobs, all of which are tech but they’re not all the same. We still have to produce more engineers and advanced degrees in computer science at the upper tier, but there’s all kinds of stuff that’s being done within companies at different sectors that can create great careers for a lot of people.” Grovo, and our partners at Capital One, couldn’t agree more.
We’re proud to be part of an initiative that has drawn praise from the Oval Office. We’re even prouder to be part of a campaign to end the digital literacy gap. The fact that we have powerful allies in combating it is great news for everyone.