Diversity & Inclusion
COVID-19 / Workplace culture

The state’s Chamber of Commerce is urging members to promote Forward Delaware

There is a mismatch between high-paying jobs and the training level of many who are currently unemployed. This workforce development program can help.

Free IT workforce training is available. (Photo by Pexels user Lukas, used under a Creative Commons license)

High-wage jobs that offer full benefits and long-term career trajectories are sitting unfilled in Delaware despite a high rate of unemployment, according to Michael J. Quaranta, president of the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce — and that’s “because of the mismatch between low skilled, underemployed, or currently unemployed people in our state and the jobs employers are dying to fill.”

In his Feb. 15 “Message from the President,” Quaranta put out a call to action to Chamber members and local officials:

“The State set aside $20 million dollars to fund workforce training, at no cost for residents who desire to pursue a career path that is likely to change the trajectory of their economic condition, lifestyle, and family future. Therefore, I am asking every Chamber member and elected elected official to promote and assist in signing people up for Forward Delaware. In addition, every nonprofit serving people who have struggled for years, find themselves out of work, or have had few good paying job prospects, should do similarly.”

In early October, the state officially launched Forward Delaware, a CARES Act-funded initiative partnering state, business and education leaders to develop professional certification programs that take 20 weeks or less to complete. The program was created after Gov. John Carney signed an executive order allocating $10 million of the state’s emergency CARES Act funding to workforce development programs in August.

Among the organizations involved with Forward Delaware are Code Differently, which launched its Return Ready program, a free, multitiered coding camp and job placement program; Tech Impact, which offers free IT training through its Tech Hire Delaware program; and Zip Code Wilmington, which has been able to offer its bootcamp tuition-free with CARES Act funds.

Tech is only one aspect of the Forward Delaware program: Rapid workforce training is also available in the healthcare, construction, logistics and hospitality industries.

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