TechHire must prove its worth

by Daily Editorial Board

Minneapolis is one of 20 cities that will pilot the first programs in a new federal initiative, TechHire, that aims to train more workers into the IT fields. Through partnerships with local colleges and corporations, TechHire will provide “coding bootcamps” that will purportedly provide students with all the necessary skills to work in the IT field after just a few months of training.

The program has many potential benefits. In Minnesota, an estimated 80,000 new jobs in the tech industry will open up over the next decade, and employees will be needed to fill that demand.

Moreover, Minneapolis Mayor Betsey Hodges noted that “a primary objective of this effort is to diversify the pool of candidates … by training more women and underrepresented groups.”

Given the short duration of TechHire’s program, it may be financially accessible for a more diverse array of students than a traditional degree in the IT field.

The need for more tech workers and more diversity in the industry makes TechHire a laudable initiative. However, we question how competitive workers who receive only a few months of training — “the minimum amount of programming knowledge needed,” a source told the Minnesota Daily last week — will be when compared with those who have college degrees in IT, computer science or related programs.

Assessments of TechHire’s effectiveness will be made after its first year of operation. Those assessments will be critical to determining whether TechHire, as compared to a traditional degree program, is beneficial for potential students.