Flash Edition - 11/24/2015

OCTAE Newsletter

November 30, 2015

Flash Edition

$100 Million Announced for TechHire Partnership Grants

Announced on Nov. 17 by the Department of Labor, the TechHire Partnership Grants funding opportunity offers significant new money and approaches to education and training partnerships to train more adults for the IT industry, with an emphasis on young adults between the ages of 17 and 29 and those with barriers to employment. OCTAE stakeholders working with these populations are encouraged to learn more. Sign up to stay current with technical assistance and announcements on this opportunity. 

Applications are due March 11, 2016. 

See a fact sheet from the White House on the larger TechHire initiative. 

The executive summary of the funding notice is provided here: 

America has about 5.4 million open jobs today, substantially more than in any year since 2001.[1] The new openings in information technology (IT) fields including software development, network administration, and cybersecurity are projected to grow at a rate that is two-thirds higher than the average for all jobs.[2] The average salary in a job that requires IT skills – whether in manufacturing, advertising, retail or banking – is more than 50 percent higher than the average private-sector American job.[3] Helping more Americans train and connect to these jobs is an important opportunity to get more people into the middle class, but it is also an economic imperative for America’s continued leadership in global innovation. Today our IT training pipeline is dramatically under-producing workers to fill these good jobs, which is costing employers, workers, and the U.S. economy. As this is the case, communities across the country are in need of more cost-effective, timely, agile, and market-responsive training pipelines for these jobs. 

As President Obama said at the launch of his TechHire initiative: “It doesn’t matter where you learned code, it just matters how good you are in writing code. If you can do the job, you should get the job.”[4] The good news is that new training models are emerging to take advantage of this opportunity both in universities and community colleges, but also nontraditional approaches like

“coding bootcamps”[5], high-quality online courses, or competency-based programs at more traditional institutions that can rapidly train workers for a well-paying job or entrepreneurial opportunities, often in just a few months. And new industry-trusted talent placement organizations are helping Americans trained in non-traditional pathways get connected to employers based on their skills even if their resumes may look different from the typical candidate. In addition, the Department of Education is launching experimental efforts to explore the quality and benefits of these accelerated and non-traditional training models with the Education Quality Through Innovative Partnerships (“EQUIP”) Title IV pilot. 

The Administration is committed to making sure that Americans who are most in need— specifically youth and young adults ages 17-29, individuals with disabilities, individuals with limited English proficiency, and individuals with criminal records and other unemployed, dislocated, underemployed, and front-line incumbent workers —have access to new, innovative training opportunities that produce quality results, and to the customized guidance and supportive and specialized services to gain employment in and advance to new positions in H-1B occupations and industries. These funds can be used to support training services in occupations for which H-1B visas have been certified, or other occupations in industries in which a significant number of H-1B visas are certified. A list of the H-1B industries that are acceptable for applications under this FOA can be found in Appendix F. 

For that reason, The Employment and Training Administration (ETA), U.S. Department of Labor (DOL, or the Department, or we), announces the availability of approximately $100,000,000 in grant funds for the TechHire partnership grant program. We expect to fund approximately 30-40 grants, with individual grant amounts ranging from $2 million to $5 million. This grant program is designed to equip individuals with the skills they need through innovative approaches that can rapidly train workers for and connect them to well-paying, middle- and high-skilled, and high-growth jobs across a diversity of H-1B industries such as IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, financial services, and broadband. 

These grants are financed by a user fee paid by employers to bring foreign workers into the United States under the H-1B nonimmigrant visa program. This program is authorized under Section 414(c) of the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA), as amended (codified at 29 USC 3224a). Grant awards will be made only to the extent that funds are available. 

Grants will be awarded to the lead applicant of a public and private partnership of entities that includes:

• the public workforce investment system;

• education and training providers, such as community colleges, community-based and faith-based organizations, and “bootcamp” style tech programs; and,

• a business-related nonprofit organization, an organization functioning as a workforce intermediary for the expressed purpose of serving the needs of businesses, a consortium of three or more of businesses, or at least three independent businesses 

At least $50 million of this funding opportunity will be awarded to applicants proposing programs serving out-of-secondary school6[6] youth and young adults between the ages of 17 and 29 with barriers to training and employment as their primary target population. Applications must include significant employer engagement, including a minimum of at least three employer partners, or a regional industry association consisting of at least three employers, with demonstrated engagement in the project. Additional partners that reflect the character and resources of the local or regional economy and the community are strongly encouraged. This funding opportunity announcement describes the application submission requirements that are listed in Section VI.B, Content and Form of Application Submission. Finally, the Department is committed to producing strong evidence on the effectiveness of the grantee programs; therefore, full participation in any national evaluation initiated by DOL is a condition of all grants awarded. 

While this funding opportunity supports the broader goals of the White House TechHire Initiative (https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology/techhire), there is no preference given to designated TechHire communities. This funding opportunity is open to all eligible applicants identified in Section III.A, Eligible Applicants. Further, applicants may propose to serve local, regional, or multi region (national) areas. 

Get the full Grant Notice.

[1] http://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm

[2] http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_102.htm

[3] http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_nat.htm#15-0000

[4] https://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/technology/techhire

[5] Bootcamps may be short, intensive, and rigorous courses of training

[6] Secondary school generally refers to the last four years of formal instruction. The standard U.S. qualification awarded to students who graduate from secondary school after 12 years of formal instruction is a High School diploma, or equivalent secondary diploma or certificate.