WILMINGTON - The JPMorgan Chase Foundation has awarded a $205,000 workforce readiness grant to the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP), the state's lead economic development organization, to create a plan for a more inclusive tech talent pipeline.
National forecasters predicting that, by 2020, there will be 1.4 million open positions that require tech skills, but only 400,000 people qualified to fill them.
Delaware is well suited to respond to the demand. Across the state, eight colleges and universities, 224 public and charter schools, and a $21 million workforce system are poised to equip residents with the skills they need. In addition, the number of non-degree tech programs (i.e. boot camps and accelerated courses) has grown rapidly in the past few years.
However, despite these programs, there is a need to prepare more residents to enter tech roles and expand opportunities in the sector, especially amongst people of color and individuals from low-income communities, according to a DPP press release.
"Creating a more inclusive tech talent pipeline is critical," says Kurt Foreman, President and CEO of the DPP. "A diverse workforce leads to diversity of thought, which is key to innovation. We are privileged to serve as convener and connector for this project, which will ensure that Delaware continues to lead the nation as a place to do business."
This project will develop a plan that positions Delaware to meet employers' tech talent needs over the next decade with homegrown talent from diverse communities across the state, and ensure clear pathways for individuals with barriers to employment or who are historically underrepresented in tech. The project includes two key elements:
- A thorough analysis of the current and anticipated tech job market, the supply of qualified applicants, and the current educational and non-profit capacity to meet the demand.
- A strategic plan to identify how Delaware can address the specific talent gap that exists and improve the inclusiveness of the pipeline.
"This plan will help position Delaware to retain existing businesses and attract new ones by strengthening the support system that prepares Delaware residents for the jobs of the future," says JPMorgan Chase Delaware Market Director Tom Horne. "We are proud to partner with Delaware Prosperity Partnership to advance career pathways in tech and promote inclusive economic growth across the state."
DPP will lead the process, working with a statewide advisory committee of key stakeholders and external consultants, conducting the audit of the current tech landscape, and facilitating the development of key strategies to address the identified gaps.