Official Announcement from The White House - Office of the Press Secretary
This Friday, the President is traveling to Austin, Texas to visit South by Southwest—a gathering of our most creative thinkers, coders, makers, and entrepreneurs from across the country—because he recognizes the importance of technology in America’s position as the global leader in innovation. Today, as part of the lead-up to that visit and on the one-year anniversary of the launch of the TechHire initiative, the Administration is announcing new steps to further develop the tech skills of our workforce—driving the ingenuity and creativity that will fuel innovation and the American economy.
Developing the tech skills of our workforce is important for our economic future and is a critical need for employers today. Over half a million of today’s open jobs are in technology fields like software development and cybersecurity—many of which did not even exist a decade ago. The average salary in a job that requires technology skills is 50 percent more than the average private sector job. Over the past seven years, the President has taken steps to ensure that we are drawing on people from all backgrounds including young adults who are disconnected from school and work, Americans who are long-term unemployed, and workers who are retraining for new jobs to prepare for the tech jobs of the future. Today’s announcements build on that progress:
- Expansion of TechHire to 50 Communities. A year ago today, the President launched TechHire as 21 communities working with over 300 employers announced actions to empower Americans with the skills they need. These communities are piloting programs to train workers—often in just a few months—through nontraditional approaches like “coding bootcamps.” Today, we are announcing that we have reached the goal set by the President to double the number of TechHire communities from 21 to more than 40 with the addition of 15 new communities working with 200 employers joining the effort.
- Strengthening and Extending On-the-Job Training for International STEM Graduates of U.S. Universities. To strengthen educational experiences of international students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in the United States, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published its final rule, expanding and extending use of the existing Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for STEM graduates, and requiring stronger ties between STEM OPT students and universities after graduation to enhance the students’ educational experience.
- Progress on the President’s Nation of Makers Initiative. In 2014, President Obama launched the National Makers Initiative to give more people access to new technologies to design and build just about anything. Today, the U.S. Department of Education is launching the Career Technical Education (CTE) Makeover Challenge to encourage the creation of more makerspaces in American high schools. The White House is also announcing the dates for the 2016 National Week of Making as June 17 – 23.
- Advancing Career and Technical Education. In addition, Acting Secretary of Education John King will call on Congress to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career & Technical Education Act, emphasizing the Administration’s ongoing commitment to ensure that we are incentivizing high-quality programs, encouraging innovation, and aligning CTE programs with postsecondary and career opportunities.