Vice President Joseph Biden’s Report – “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity” was released on 22nd July 2014 - the same day President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), a bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will improve workforce development system in U.S.
The Vice President’s report highlights successful job-driven training strategies, details executive actions that are being taken by the federal government, and new commitments by employers, non-profits, unions and innovators to help spread what’s working and to support more Americans in getting and moving up in in-demand jobs and careers.
Getting special mention in the report for its efforts in streamlining workforce education in the U.S. is the Wadhwani Foundation’s “Race to a Job (RTAJ)” initiative launched in 2012, to enhance student employability while reducing learning times and costs and improving completion. Wadhwani Foundation’s two pilot projects at Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, boosting the college’s cyber-technology certificate program, and at the Borough of Manhattan community College of the City of New York, in conjunction with local 1199 of the Service Employees International Union, to digitize the school’s medical assistant specialist curriculum, have been lauded.
In the backdrop of widening skills gap and the need to improve job readiness for 36 million low-skilled adults in U.S., Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, Chairman & Founder of the Wadhwani Foundation, met President Obama in 2012 and the ‘Race to a Job (RTAJ)’ Initiative was born. RTAJ seeks to combine best-in-class workforce development (job programs) and delivery systems with advanced educational technology to scale workforce education delivery and is focusing on a learner centric, massively open online system delivered in a hybrid model that scales existing successful workforce development programs in collaboration with Community Colleges, Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Training Unions and Industry Partners.
Enthused by the Obama Administration’s efforts towards across-the-board reform of America’s training programs that help millions of Americans earn the skills they need to find new and better paying jobs, Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur, philanthropist and Chairman & Founder of the Wadhwani Foundation, says, “The Wadhwani Foundation is committed to help Obama administration in its efforts to upskill America and is leveraging technologies and modern concepts for teaching and scaling workforce skills. Race to a Job (RTAJ) aims to catalyse skill development in U.S. through online learning tools, games and simulation, and collaborating with global & national partners for delivery and learnability of workforce education. This is in sync with the Obama Administration’s plan of modernizing apprenticeships, expanding on-the-job training, catalysing education-workforce-industry partnerships and facilitating hiring based on competencies and credentials.”
Obama Administration is particularly committed to supporting a new accelerated model of intensive training, often called “coding bootcamps” which have emerged in several cities around the country. Coding bootcamps teach participants with minimal to no IT background, how to write computer code on an accelerated time frame (usually between 9 and 12 weeks) and regularly result in high paying jobs (frequently around $70,000). Three cities - Kansas City, Missouri; Louisville, Kentucky; and Minneapolis, Minnesota - together with Wadhwani Foundation are creating new public-private partnerships, working closely with local IT employers and city leaders to attract coding bootcamps. Each will quantify employer demand for IT positions with specific skills necessary to fill those jobs, and have identified funding immediately available to provide tuition support. Wadhwani Foundation will provide support to document and evaluate these efforts as they move forward.
Encouraged with the mention in VP Joe Biden’s report, Dr. Ajay Kela, President & CEO, Wadhwani Foundation, said, “American youth and displaced workers face persistently high unemployment. There is a widening skills gap between the skills possessed by students and those required by industry. The ‘Race to a Job’ initiative of Wadhwani Foundation seeks to accelerate closing of this skill gap and create mid-level career paths using learner-centric technology solutions integrated with existing workforce education.”
Biden’s report comes just before the signing of the bipartisan, bicameral Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) by President Barack Obama. The act is being heralded as an important one for America’s working class as it will help them acquire skills required to connect to 21st century job opportunities. It will also give businesses access to a globally competitive workforce.
“The need for skilled talent has never been greater, and the costs of skilling, developing and acquiring that talent has never been more costly. In this rapidly changing world, technology is a key tool. The National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) is fortunate to have access to the thought and guidance of the Wadhwani Foundation which is a product of the technology industry having in-depth knowledge coupled with a social mission, making it a valued partner for NAWB,” says Ron Painter, Executive Director, National Association of Workforce Boards.
About Wadhwani Foundation:
Founded in 2003 by Dr. Romesh Wadhwani, the Foundation’s primary mission is economic acceleration of emerging economies and U.S. Catalyzing job creation and skill development are the two primary target areas of focus for the Foundation. The Foundation embarked upon its mission in India first, and subsequently it expanded into U.S. in 2012 with ‘Race to a Job’ Initiative, particularly to address persistently high youth and displaced-worker unemployment.
Program Coordinator - Race to a Job