With High Potential in Delaware, Shortage of Qualified Tech Talent is Preventing State’s Growth

The J.P Morgan Chase Foundation has awarded a $205,000 workforce readiness grant to the Delaware Prosperity Fund, which is a combined public-private economic development organization. These funds are being awarded to create a plan that will outline the path forward to a more include tech talent pipeline. Funding such as this could greatly assist with increasing the amount of highly qualified people tech talent at all levels in the state. 

There’s a lot of potential in Delaware, but there’s a shortage of qualified tech talent to keep up with the state’s growth. It’s good to see one of the country’s (and the state‘s) largest financial institutions stepping up to increase the amount of diverse tech talent in the state of Delaware. The focus of this funding initiative is to invest in increasing the amount of local tech talent in the ecosystem drawing from diverse communities. 

The rate of tech growth in many states, but especially Delaware has outpaced the amount of qualified candidates. The actual unemployment numbers in Delaware are quite low. However, there is a shortage of people with the skills needed to fill an increasing number of open roles, in various tech fields. The untapped potential of low-income, under resourced communities could fill the gap. This could mean increased access to education and training. This is especially true for those who might not otherwise have been able to receive those opportunities, and will assist with expansion of much needed homegrown tech-talent. According to the Future of Jobs Report 2018, while technology is going to eliminate over 75 million jobs by the year 2022, it will also create over 122 million jobs as well. This will mean that Delaware will not be the only state facing a talent shortage, and job training and preparedness in all areas of technology will become imperative. 

In speaking of this grant funding. The President and CEO of the Delaware Prosperity Fund, Kurt Foreman had this to say: “Creating a more inclusive tech talent pipeline is critical, A diverse workforce leads to diversity of thought, which is key to innovation. We are privileged to serve as convener and connector for this project, which will ensure that Delaware continues to lead the nation as a place to do business.”

This grant will be used to create an analysis of the current tech job market, research local eligible candidates, and identify the educational and nonprofit capacity needed to meet the talent demand. In addition, a plan will be created that will identify how Delaware can fill the current gap in the market, and also improve the inclusiveness and diversity of the pipeline. 

All of these initiatives are especially important in Delaware, where even with 212 public schools, and a number of non-degree tech related programs like bootcamps, there is a gap in accessibility. More programs are needed to expand accessibility to people regardless of socio-economic status. With an ever expanding need for qualified candidates, opportunities need to be more inclusive, access to education more open.