''TECH -POVERTY- JOBS'' : 1 / 5

IF TECH JOBS bring prosperity, for many its too damn slow to come. Programs aimed at those without a bachelor's are still mostly small scale.

Brittney Ball was living in a homeless shelter with her baby when she learned of a one-year program offering technical training, professional skills and an internship. She took the plunge.

Five years later, Ms. Ball is a software engineer in Charlotte, N.C.. earning more than $50,000 a year. A 30-year-old single mother, she has health insurance, retirement savings and plans to vacation in Mexico this year.

''It showed me that I could do something different,'' she said about the training program. ''It really lit a fire under me.''

Preparing people for tech jobs is hailed as the great employment hope of the future. Cities and states across the United States are rushing to teach elementary and high school students to write software.

''LEARN TO CODE'' is a career advice mantra.

Mastering code and applying it in business, some experts say, holds the promise of becoming the path to the middle class for people without four year college degrees. And nonprofit programs like those used by Ms Ball are considered central to getting people there.

''Tech jobs can be seen as the new manufacturing jobs,'' said Byron Auguste, chief executive of Opportunity@Work, a nonprofit group that focuses on work-force issues.

There are bright spots, but those remain mostly small scale so far, and expanding quickly has many complications. Training, mentoring. and counselling people - often from disadvantaged backgrounds - is not a mass production process.

''The idea that tech jobs are going to create a substantial middle class anytime in the foreseeable future is unrealistic,'' said Hal Salzman, a professor at the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

Calculations by Professor Salzman andd Khudododov, a graduate student, show 70 percent growth in information technology jobs over 15 years, to 4.7 million in 2018.

But that total is far fewer than half the 12.8 million in manufacturing, a sector that shed 1.5 million jobs over that span. About one-fourth of the tech jobs are held by workers without four-year degrees, the researchers estimated.

A growing number of nonprofit organizations focus on pathways to tech-related jobs. Some work in single communities, while others have national reach, like TechHire, Skillful, Per Scholas and Year Up, the program that Ms. Ball went through.

The ventures supported by foundations, corporations, and state and local governments, are trying to tap into a broad shift in the labor market.

Most tech jobs are no longer in the technology industry, an increasing trend that experts say promises to create good jobs in fields like marketing, health care and finance.

The honor and serving of the latest operational research on Tech and Jobs and Poverty, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Steve Lohr.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!