Tuesday, April 28, 2015
NYCT Believes Backing STEM Education is Critical to Building a Strong Workforce
In May 2014, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a tech talent pipeline initiative to grow New York City’s tech industry and train New Yorkers for high-paying jobs in the field. The $10 million dollar initiative is led by founding director Kristen Titus (of Girls Who Code) and supported by more than 20 industry partners ranging from Goldman Sachs to Buzzfeed. Each partner has pledged different types of support, whether financial, educational, or resource-based. The program is a great step forward for New York City’s tech industry and workforce, but what each partner offers varies and it’s unclear what steps the program is taking to test and refine offerings. Corporate partnerships with technology companies will help make the city more code literate, but will likely do it on the terms of the partnering corporations.
In addition to the Tech Talent Pipeline’s impressive lineup of industry partnerships, private and public organizations need to fund K-12 tech education programs on a competitive basis. Patricia Jenny is Vice President for Grants at The New York Community Trust, sealing the fate of over $40 million in competitive grants. Watching the city change over her 20-year career, she reasons that technology training programs are a consequential investment for the city: ”On a high level, the US is at risk of losing competitive advantage because we aren’t producing students with STEM skills. The tech industry is so fast-moving and doesn’t have to put stakes down, which creates national, city and state-level competition....”