Capital CoLAB arose out of the need to attract more technology workers in the Washington area to fill a growing skill shortage. While there were more than 200,000 jobs in digital technology in 2017, according to the group, universities in the region had only awarded around 20,300 credentials.
The area has become home to several technology companies and includes an area called Data Center Alley, whose high data center concentration accounts for up to 70% of global Internet traffic every day. Last year, Amazon had announced it would build part of a second site in Northern Virginia, also to gain access to technology talent in the region.
By bringing together several large employers, universities can determine what skills and capabilities they consider most important among their employees, said American University President Sylvia Burwell on Wednesday in a panel in Washington where the initiative was discussed.
“Then, as universities, we discover what courses we offer to meet those needs and then they are credited,” Burwell added.
Its goal is not to turn four-year colleges into vocational training programs, but to complement the curriculum with digital skills that students can use in the workplace, be it in the humanities or technology sectors, said President Wes Bush of Northrop Grumman.
“Businesses have the responsibility to talk and say what we really need,” said Bush. The CoLAB identified three detection capabilities: Data Analysis, Data Visualization and Internet Security.
In fact, these areas have grown significantly in recent years. According to a recent LinkedIn report, scientists and data analysts will soon be “among the most sought after professionals.” And the shortage of these workers has already reached tens of thousands in some technology centers, including San Francisco and New York.
In addition, CyberSecurity Ventures predicts a worldwide shortage of 3.5 million cybersecurity experts by 2021.
This changing work panel highlights the need for universities to adapt to faster learning.
“The world that many of us feel very comfortable with, where we went to college and graduated four years, and maybe we stayed and got a master’s degree or something, then we said,” Well, we In the training for our lives, let’s go to work ‘, this world is gone, “Bush said.
Instead, universities are beginning to design programs around the concept of lifelong learning, through which people can acquire credentials and skills throughout their lives. Panelists said that evidence of digital technology should probably be continually updated to reflect the current needs of the workplace.
The CoLAB is just one of many efforts to bring together industry and academia in this field. Amazon, Apple, Google, and other key technology employers have recently collaborated with universities to create their own curriculum to create a steady flow of employees with the required skills.
However, further efforts are being made. For example, according to the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, Utah has doubled the number of technology jobs between 2007 and 2017.
In response, Silicon Slopes, a non-profit organization, was formed to serve the needs of the state technology industry. Among other efforts, the company has worked with several universities in the region to develop technology-oriented programming.
Similarly, the non-profit New York Business Development Corporation has made plans to increase the region’s cybersecurity footprint this fall. Among its companies, it is affiliated with City University of New York and Facebook to launch a new masters program in cybersecurity. Providing stackable credentials at various universities through the online education provider EdX; and offers training through the specialized training camp of the Fullstack Academy.