Building on our conversations, it seems like there are four main strategies that are of mutual interest to the Vice President’s Office, the National Economic Council, and T4A.org. These strategies are listed below along with ideas of the types of commitments that could help advance each. These are merely ideas, and ones that we would be happy to further discuss.
STRATEGY 1: Better Integrating Coding into the Existing Education System Beyond K-12
We applaud your efforts to get the word out about the value of coding. We think there is potential to expand coding education and training, including in Community Colleges. The recently announced $500 million of Community College Job Training grants (TAA-CCCT) are intended to fund the co-creation of 2-year programs either by community colleges or four-year colleges that offer 2-year associates degrees in partnership with employers, to train for in-demand jobs and careers. In fact, these grants are designed to incentivize education and training providers to partner with national organizations — like a group of key industry players — that can scale the programs across the country. To learn more: http://www.doleta.gov/taaccct/
Potential Action Focus: Scalable and Accessible Programs
- Partner with four-year or community college to develop coding curriculum that is employer validated to teach the skills demanded of coders
- Package curriculum so that it could be readily adopted by community colleges across the country and modified to remain responsive to employers changing needs
- Create a complementary training module for instructors to be able to teach the curriculum
- Work with companies who want to hire graduates to validate the curriculum from the outset
STRATEGY 2: Developing Stand-Alone Programs to Teach Coding
In addition to working within the existing community college structure, you have demonstrated remarkable success with stand-alone coding boot camps. There is work to be done developing more sensible means for financing coding boot camps. The Administration is eager to lift up new examples of this type of effort.
Potential Action Focus: Coding Boot Camp
- Develop creative funding mechanisms that would make these boot camps more affordable to a wider population, including scholarships or fellowships from employers.
- Innovate admissions processes and curriculum to reduce the attainment of a four year degree as a prerequisite for participation in boot camps as much as possible.
STRATEGY 3: Communicating Information on Open Jobs
Your comments about needing to better understand what jobs are available, how close they are to being qualified for which jobs and what training may be required to get them all the way there, echo what we have been hearing all over the country. We see a few aspects to this problem: first, the backend data is often weak. We are looking for additional ideas regarding how the government and others can better collect the data that would be most useful for job seekers and businesses. Second, when this data exists, it is not always presented in a way that is useful to job seekers and businesses. Numerous state, private, and federal websites, could do more to create a user friendly interface to make the information accessible. Finally, people often don’t know their own potential, what skills they actually have and how close they are to being prepared for a job that either isn’t on their radar or they perceive as out of reach. For instance, many Americans may not realize that they could easily learn to code based on their ability to think quickly and be organized.
Potential Commitment: Working with States
The White House is planning on convening a group of entrepreneurs to work with states in order to develop and/or improve tools that help individuals acquire information about job openings and related training programs. For this workshop, a potential commitment would be:
- Assistance to states on the development of successful user interface and design/frontend development
- Create a tool that will help link job openings with the necessary training needed to qualify for the position
- Create games and innovative assessments that can help more potential students realize that they would be good at programming
- Identify partners who are willing to allow entrepreneurs and/or states to use their data to create tools to disseminate information about job openings
STRATEGY 4: Transitioning from the Military
We share the concern you expressed that service members face far too many roadblocks translating the skills they acquire while in the military to what employers say they are looking for.
Possible Next Steps: Joining Forces
- We would be delighted to help make a connection with the First Lady’s office to build upon the work of Dr. Biden and the First Lady as part of their Joining Forces Initiative by finding ways to work with the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, and Education, to find ways for veterans to use GI Bill funding to learn computer programming.