Guest blog post by Adam Enbar, CEO of The Flatiron School. In the last several years, The Flatiron School has made a name for itself training passionate, creative students for careers in web and mobile development. The school maintains a 99% job placement rate at companies that employ technical talent, including Etsy, Boeing, and Google.
In the United States, there are currently half a million open “tech jobs,” and that number is only expected to grow over the next 10 years. These are good jobs—with reported median salaries of more than $90,000. The key to matching job-seekers of this and future generations with these positions lies solely in access to passionate teachers and a relevant technical education.
To this end, new educational models are created every day. In general, there are four ways new models can help students get the skills they need to succeed. They can help more people access technical training, align their curriculum with the realities of today’s job market, inspire K-12 students with the power and potential of technology, and aim to improve people’s lives through education.
Expanding Access to Education
Half the challenge of encouraging people to pursue a technical education is increasing access to education in general. As the cost of higher education rises at a record pace, an increasing number of people are being left out of the opportunity to pursue any sort of advanced skill training.
The success of the GI Bill underscores the need for a larger idea of what it means to obtain an education. People come from different backgrounds and learn differently. As educators, we should accommodate these differences and advocate for more options for learning. As employers, we should do the same—more accessible education means a more skilled labor force and a more diverse talent pool.
Over recent years, government at all levels has stepped in to remedy this problem. In his 2015 State of the Union, President Obama outlined a plan to provide free Community College education to anyone who needs it. At the local level, New York City’s Tech Talent Pipeline initiative, which kicked off with the NYC Web Development Fellowship, offers free, outcomes-oriented technical training to low income New Yorkers without a college degree.