CompTIA, a non-profit association for the IT industry, is encouraging its membership and the broader high-tech industry to aggressively seek their share of $240 million in newly launched federal grants available for job training programs.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis on Monday announced the availability of approximately $240 million through the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants program competition. Grants will be awarded to help workers update current job skills or acquire new skills so they can enter career pathways that lead to higher-paying jobs, including positions in information technology. The Department of Labor expects to fund 75 to 100 grants.
The Department of Labor will conduct a Webinar today to share information about the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants program. Jane Oates, assistant secretary of the employment and training administration for the Department of Labor, will highlight occupations and sectors and discuss the importance of growing America's skilled workforce.
"CompTIA is very pleased to hear that the Department of Labor will fund up to 100 grants for workforce development," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, who participated in Monday's announcement with Solis. "With the dynamic nature of information technology, it's critical for our industry to make available to the nation's workforce opportunities for ongoing training and certification in the IT skills that will keep us competitive."
The Department of Labor intends to award two types of training grants: those that provide on-the-job training to all participants and those that use other training strategies. At least $150 million will be awarded to grantees that provide on-the-job training. The department also intends to award at least $45 million to applicants proposing to provide training for occupations in the health care industry and at least $60 million to applicants that serve long-term unemployed individuals.
"These grants will help many companies-small, medium and large-address their need for skilled technology workers during these challenging economic times. CompTIA will actively support and encourage the participation of our members, large and small, in the grant solicitation," Thibodeaux said. "We're pleased that several of the recommendations have been included in the final grant solicitation process and that businesses will be able to compete for these grants and use the funding for training and up-skilling their incumbent workers."
Last fall Solis, CompTIA and leaders in the IT industry-including representatives from CVS, HP, IBM, Juniper Networks and Oracle-met to discuss strategies on how the H-1B Technical Skills Training Grants program should be structured to maximize benefits to the American workforce.
Workforce development is one of the pillars of CompTIA's advocacy on behalf of the IT industry. With more than 1.4 million certifications awarded worldwide, CompTIA is the largest provider of vendor-neutral certifications for IT professionals. These certifications are the recognized industry standards for a broad range of technology skills, including PC fundamentals and repair, networking, security, server, Linux, project management, printing and document imaging and convergence technologies.