There are nearly half a million open tech jobs in the United States today, and that number is projected to more than double within the next four years. These jobs pay 50 percent more than the average private sector job.
That's why President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the TechHire initiative in 2015 to give more Americans access to accelerated tech training that leads to a well-paying tech job -- no matter what their zip code. Four thousand workers have already been trained and employed across the country, and communities and businesses have committed to training and placing an additional 35,000 people in the next few years.
Today, Vice President Biden headed to the LaunchCode Mentor Center in St. Louis, Missouri -- one of the first TechHire communities -- to speak with employees and employers who have benefitted from this collaborative approach that trains Americans for the jobs of the future.
Here's how it works: A qualified candidate applies for dozens of tech jobs without ever getting an interview. She has the skills, the motivation, and the self-discipline to learn how to code herself. But because she didn't go to college, she doesn’t get the job.
But then she shows up to at LaunchCode, a not-for-profit that finds talented people across St. Louis and gives them the training and credibility for the tech jobs that employers are desperately seeking to fill. LaunchCode goes to bat for her and connects her with a position at a company like MasterCard. She gets hired on as an apprentice. She proves herself and gets hired fulltime. She becomes a systems engineer with a good-paying salary. She gets promoted.
That's good for her. It's good for the company.
In the last year, numerous companies -- including major St. Louis employers like Mastercard, Boeing, and Express Scripts -- have been hiring more candidates with non-traditional backgrounds. In the LaunchCode program alone, 310 people have been placed in apprenticeships with a 90 percent hiring rate into full time positions. These employees make salaries that are two times higher than their previous jobs. Sixty percent of these folks were previously unemployed, and 25 percent lack a college degree.
And at LaunchCode, the Vice President announced that The Iron Yard, Code Fellows, and Operation HOPE will launch a Tech Opportunity Fund, which will offer $100 million in full-tuition scholarships to women and minorities who are underrepresented in the tech workforce. The fund is launching with $45 million in committed funding so far. Through partnerships with city-level government bodies and civic organizations, the fund will also assist scholarship recipients by addressing needs such as affordable housing, financial literacy, counseling and transportation as needed.
But we're not going to stop here. We will be announcing new commitments from mayors, governors, businesses, traditional and non-traditional training programs, and others to the TechHire initiative this fall. If you're not involved yet, you can get involved by making a commitment here.