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In October 2019, JPMorgan Chase Foundation awarded the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP) — the public-private partnership that leads the state’s economic development efforts — a $205,000 workforce readiness grant to improve the Delaware’s tech talent pipeline.
The first step in the project, consisting of a tech talent profile commissioned by the Austin-based firm TIP Strategies, assessing the tech job market in Delaware, the state’s supply of qualified applicants and its current educational and nonprofit capacity.
The analysis included roundtables, interviews and work sessions with more than 50 participants from Delaware businesses, nonprofits, education and workforce development in all three counties, according to a DPP news release.
It found that, in 2019, Delaware employed 17,429 IT workers, with 90% of them residing in the state. Two-thirds of IT jobs, it found, are outside the traditional “tech” sector, but instead are concentrated in Delaware’s top industries, including finance, healthcare, manufacturing and education.
According to the DPP, the tech talent profile revealed that:
- IT needs remain a key concern for Delaware employers, with IT jobs needed at all levels across IT domains (software, networks, cybersecurity, data management and tech support).
- Bottlenecks in IT hiring are exacerbated by changing skills and the accelerated digitization of our economy in the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Addressing IT talent needs will require significantly more focus on upskilling those already in the workforce, as well as continuing to expand educational pathways.
“The demand for tech talent in Delaware has never been stronger,” said Kurt Foreman, president and CEO of DPP. “With this program, Delaware distinguishes itself as one of the first states in the nation to bring stakeholders together to strategically envision how a diverse tech talent pipeline will advance our economy.”
Currently, DPP and TIP are working collaboratively with stakeholders statewide and aim to present a plan in early fall that will both serve as a foundation for a diverse IT strategy and create career opportunities. Some of the community-based working models already helping to feed Delaware’s tech talent pipeline the project is building on include Zip Code Wilmington, Code Differently, Delaware Technical and Community College, TechHire Delaware, Year Up Wilmington, the Delaware Pathways IT career programs in Delaware public schools, and the new FinTech Center at the University of Delaware.
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