CREATING A DIVERSE PIPELINE OF TECH WORKERS (Winter 2018). Boston-area tech firms struggle to fill job openings. The tech workforce is largely homogenous with too few women and too few people of color. Employers regularly use a four-year degree as a proxy for job skills but lament the lack of critical thinking and communication skills among entry-level workers. Clowes Fund grantee SkillWorks, a public-private partnership with the dual mission of helping low-skill, low-income individuals attain family-supporting jobs and helping employers find and retain skilled employees, considered the state of the regional tech sector and asked, “Why not Boston youth and young adults?” 

After a careful review of the sector, SkillWorks convened a roundtable of area employers and identified entry-level jobs that are accessible to well-trained applicants who have not completed a four-year degree, offer strong starting wages and benefits and have a clear path to career advancement. Based on that review, SkillWorks invested $1 million in strategies that will expand apprenticeship opportunities in the industry, prepare adult learners for careers in the health care information technology field, help a major financial services company create career paths for non-traditional employees, create a pipeline for cyber security analysts and train youth in the latest web development skills. In total, these strategies will help 350 diverse youth and young adults participate in industry internships and 130 job seekers find a good job in the tech sector.  In doing so, SkillWorks will not only change the career and financial trajectory of hundreds of local youth and young adults, but also change the face of the region’s tech sector.  

In the image, students at SkillWorks’ partner Resilient Coders learn the latest web development skills.