- 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 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 will develop training programs in areas like cybersecurity and AI with assistance from tech companies, according to the report. It will also be launched with 150 students and will be split into two parts over a two-year period, Crain's said, with employers helping to determine key subject areas.
Across industries, 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.
Cognizant, one of the largest tech employers in the U.S., is helping sharpen NYC's tech talent just as Amazon's HQ2 rolls in. The city is set to receive 25,000 jobs when hiring begins in 2019.
New York led all cities with the most people employed in tech-related jobs in year-end 2017 at nearly 425,000 professionals. The Amazon deal included an investment of $5 million each from the company, NYC Economic Development and Empire State Development for workforce initiatives.
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.
The NYC HQ2 location is expected to add an additional 15,000 jobs to New York's economy within 15 years, just in time for adolescents educated in STEM to enter the workforce.
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. Major players in the industry have even launched their own STEM high schools to develop a steady stream of workers for future need.
Some observers have called for a rebranding STEM fields and occupations to better attract 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.