Why Universities and Workforce Agencies Are Activating Access Partnerships to Strengthen Regional Economies
Hear from three representatives of our Access Partnerships on how academic institutions, nonprofits, and government agencies are working together to carve more affordable career pathways for diverse learners and meet regional employers’ talent needs.
In Portland, while 60% of businesses plan to increase tech staff in 2022, 46% say finding qualified talent is their biggest challenge, with 54% claiming IT shortages hinder key goals.
Denver has the sixth fastest-growing tech labor pool in North America. Over 27,000 tech jobs have been added in the last five years, accounting for 7% of the area’s total workforce, nearly two times higher than the 3.9% national average.
Central Florida was particularly hit hard by the pandemic, with tens of thousands of furloughs and layoffs in tourism and hospitality across the Orlando area, compelling many workers to look for ways to pivot into more sustainable tech careers. Central Florida now includes seven of the state’s 10 best cities for tech jobs, based on job availability per capita and other factors.
Designing Public-Private Partnerships That Expand Access and Opportunity
Matching Financial Support with Student Support to Help Learners Achieve Their Goals
Ensuring Qualified Talent and Diverse Pipelines for Employers
Transformational Impact for a Better Tomorrow
With the creativity, commitment, and care that’s helped establish our Access Partnerships so far, the future bodes bright for so many learners on the receiving end of these scholarships. For example, graduates from the University of Oregon’s inaugural boot camp cohort have already been hired in tech roles at Microsoft and Portland-headquartered Nike. But this work is easier said than done.
“Right now, some of our funding comes from the Recovery Act, but that won’t last forever,” Worksystems’ Timper says. “If more employers buy into a co-investment model, we can operate the program at scale and support even more underserved job seekers. Success in this initiative will need to come from a collaboration across government, business, education, and labor to meet these goals.”
Dedicating the time and effort to building these Access Partnerships is worth it, especially considering the lasting impact they can have on lifelong learning. “We are in a time of constant change, whether it’s technology, the workforce, or the pandemic,” DU’s Jacob says. “This partnership is helping us ignite that spark of continuous learning for those who may not have had the opportunity to see its value before.”
“With these kinds of partnerships,” UCF’s Rose adds, “we’re all better together for the sake of learners, rather than forging our individual paths.”
Ultimately, there’s nothing more inspiring than hearing about the transformational power of high-quality educational experiences, direct from learners. As one University of Utah graduate puts it, “Because of the scholarship, I was able to take the boot camp I had been planning for years. Only a month after graduating, I landed a new job—a direct result from what I learned and the resources provided. Now, I'm making more than twice what I was before and with better benefits. Plus, my job is more rewarding with plenty of opportunity for growth. I hope other people are able to have their lives changed, just as mine did.”
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