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White House, Department of Labor Announce $120M Tech Grant Competition Prizes

It includes $20 million to train recently incarcerated prisoners for tech jobs.

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Earlier this year, President Obama launched an initiative called TechHire, aimed at getting more Americans into open jobs in the tech industry. Today came the next step in his administration’s plan to train more Americans for those jobs.

In Baltimore, the White House and Department of Labor announced a $100 million grant competition for businesses to train young Americans for tech jobs, and $20 million in grants to companies that “promote rehabilitation and reintegration for the formerly incarcerated.” Officials also said that 14 new cities, including Baltimore, Md., and Newark, N.J., have pledged to participate in the effort.

The goal of the TechHire program is to weave together nontraditional job-training routes — online classes, coding “bootcamps” — and resources from cities, universities and community colleges. It’s pretty well-known that jobs requiring advanced tech knowledge pay well; the Bureau of Labor Statistic says the median hourly wage for “Computer and Mathematical Occupations” is over $38. But getting those jobs usually requires a college degree and serious personal networking, which is why the government is stepping up to encourage companies to train new workers for them.

You can read the full announcement here, and below are some selected highlights:

  • $100 Million TechHire Grant Competition. Earlier this year, the President announced that as a part of the TechHire initiative, the Administration would commit $100 million to expanding accelerated tech training. Today, the Department of Labor (DOL) is releasing the application for those grants. They will award $100 million or more in H-1B funds, including at least $50 million specifically dedicated to supporting young Americans, ages 17-29, with barriers to training and employment, to partnerships that can that rapidly train and connect workers to well-paying, high-growth jobs across industries such as information technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing.
  • $20 Million Training to Work Grant Competition. Building off the President’s announcement from earlier this month of new actions to promote rehabilitation and reintegration for the formerly incarcerated, today the Administration is also announcing the launch of the fourth round of DOL’s Training to Work grant competition that will award approximately 14 grants to expand access to tech jobs and other high growth occupations for adults ages 18 and older returning from correctional facilities. Interested applicants may apply to this opportunity here.
  • 14 Cities and States Have Made New Commitments to Expand Access to Tech Training and Jobs Since the Launch. Since the launch of TechHire earlier this year, the President has announced that 14 new communities including Baltimore have responded to the TechHire initiative with commitments to work with employer partners on new ways to recruit and place applicants based on their skills, create more accelerated tech training opportunities, and invest in innovative placement programs to connect trained workers with entrepreneurial opportunities and well-paying jobs. Today, the City of Baltimore is launching its TechHire initiative with an emphasis on including those who have historically been left out of Baltimore’s economy and those who are underrepresented in tech fields.

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