Delaware politicians highlight employment needs in the First State

     ITWorks class(Gail Britton/WHYY)

    ITWorks class(Gail Britton/WHYY)

    In the last three weeks, Delaware leaders have taken center stage promoting the need to develop and employ quality workers.

    Today in Wilmington, Sen. Coons put together a matchmaking session between students at ITWorks and some of the state’s largest employers.

    ITWorks is an IT training program in Wilmington. It is free of charge to high school graduates who have not had the opportunity to finish college. While several employers in the area, like JPMorgan Chase, Capital One and Barclays, have already had great success with graduates from the 3 year old program, the employment opportunities are expanding within the private sector as well as the military.

    Senator Coons told the students they should focus not just the technology, but soft skills as well, “Things we’ve learned in kindergarten should be applied. Come to work ready to work and leave personal problems at home,” he said.

    Meanwhile, at the National Association of Workforce Boards in Washington DC yesterday, Delaware’s Gov. Markell was a keynote speaker highlighting the importance of high-quality workforce training.

    Addressing the audience of workforce development professionals and leaders in business, government, labor and education, he said, “This new era – this Second Machine Age – requires public policies to evolve with our technology. The demands of today’s job market mean we must change the way we prepare our people for success.”

    Earlier this month, the tech-training drumbeat started with the Obama Administration launching TechHire, a public-private initiative based off a report released last year by Vice President Biden. Finding quality candidates from community colleges, high-quality online courses, military service and other non-traditional approaches, like ITWorks, the goal is to give Americans the skills they need to thrive. In an opinion piece for the News Journal Biden and Markell highlighted Delaware as one of the more than 20 cities and states who will help local employers hire workers based on skills to fill open technology jobs.

    In Delaware unique programs like ITWorks will continue to develop and train qualified and employable candidates in hopes that federal programs, like TechHire, will support expansion and give training opportunities to even more Delawareans.

    Locally, there is need right now for hundreds of technology professionals. Delaware employers who attended the ITWorks event today in Wilmington told the students, “You’re a hot commodity.”

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