Understanding technology may seem out of reach for some people. When you chisel that broad element down and focus simply on information technology or IT stuff, it gets even worse. Perhaps that's why there are so many vacant technology jobs out there today? It's sad, too, because the technology space is vast, and there are so many opportunities!
President Barack Obama aims to change that with his federal TechHire initiative, which has an ultimate goal to fill a lot of those vacant slots. They want to get more people interested and working in the tech industry, but the problem is many technology and IT jobs now require a degree or certification. You may have the skills or experience, but you're not going to be offered the part unless you have the educational background to support it.
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There is a way to get your foot in the door, believe it or not, and it's surprisingly simple. It's all possible thanks to a nonprofit organization called LaunchCode.
What Is LaunchCode?
Launchcode is a unique program that takes people - who are willing to learn and work - and places them in an apprenticeship with one of many different companies. You could be placed in a large corporation, a small startup, an independent business or anywhere in between. There are all kinds of opportunities. For example, you could be working with a huge corporation like Amazon or PayPal, or you could end up working for a smaller company that focuses on auto tech.
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Through LaunchCodeâs program, in a matter of weeks or months, you'll have the tech skills and experience to make an impact in the industry.
The idea behind the program is to get people into these tech jobs who are qualified, yet may not have the funds or time to dedicate to a four-year degree.
As an apprentice, the program is free. That begs the question, how does the LaunchCode team make any money? They make money by charging potential employers for each successful job placement - $5,000 per new hire. Since about 90% of the candidates who enter an apprenticeship end up being hired on a full-time basis, it works out in LaunchCode's favor.
According to LaunchCode, more than 40% of the candidates who enter the program are unemployed at the time. In addition, 42% are employed, yet those people make less than $25,000 a year. When compared to the average salary of those who graduate from the program, the difference is significant. Candidates who complete their apprenticeship are often paid in excess of $50,000 per year. We don't need to tell you what kind of difference that salary change can have on someone's life.
LaunchCode is expanding across North America, and actively seeking partnerships to close the tech talent gap.
LaunchCode helps local economies by developing homegrown talent, creating upward mobility, and building a 21st century workforce through apprenticeships and job placements in technology. LaunchCoders are working in St. Louis, Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, Fort Knox, Seattle, and more.
The best part is that during the apprenticeship, candidates are paid about $15 an hour. This is unlike an internship, where the candidate gains experience but receives little to no pay. In this program, you're actually being paid for the time and effort you invest into this venture.
It is estimated that about 90% of the candidates have no prior coding experience. Only 18% have a computer science degree, and 42% have absolutely no higher education or degree at all. LaunchCodeâs program is open to everyone, and all you need to do is apply.
Unfortunately, LaunchCode's program isn't available everywhere just yet.
Where Is It Available?
Recently, LaunchCode was given a $1.25 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation operating out of Miami. This has allowed them to launch in southern Florida. Another hub exists in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Over time, the program will be rolled out nationally, but there's no word on when we can expect availability everywhere. The good news is that the people behind LaunchCode are working toward that outcome.
It's likely that competing programs will crop up here and there, too, which is great for those who are unemployed and seeking work. The tech industry is an ideal market to break into, and the opportunities are endless. Technology will continue to expand over time, becoming more powerful or evolving into new products and devices, so the demand for labor will also continue to grow
Might as well jump on the fast track to a better career now, instead of waiting around for something else to come along, right?