5 Min Read • October 18, 2022
National Initiative Brings Together Universities and Employers to Double the Impact of Tech Training
SkillStorm's Upskill Together project expands access to in-demand industry-recognized credentials; provides free training to individuals from historically underserved communities.JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Oct. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, SkillStorm announced the launch of Upskill Together, an initiative led by a coalition of universities and employers including Salesforce, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Pega, Florida State University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas that aims to expand access to high-demand, industry-recognized technology credentials. Led by the tech talent accelerator SkillStorm, Upskill Together includes a unique one-to-one match program that will provide free technology upskilling programs to learners from historically underserved communities for each individual who trains through the platform.
"For too long, the tech industry has treated widespread talent shortages and persistent equity gaps as separate and unrelated challenges — but in reality, they are two sides of the same coin," said Joe Mitchell, COO of SkillStorm. "With the support of our partners around the country, Upskill Together match scholarships will accelerate economic opportunity for people from all backgrounds, providing pathways to the skills and industry credentials employers need to support their digital transformation initiatives today and into the future."
The launch of Upskill Together comes at a critical inflection point for the U.S. workforce: as the pace of technological change continues to accelerate, half of information technology (IT) decision-makers report that the number one reason they continue to face skill gaps is difficulty recruiting and retaining job candidates with relevant expertise. Upskill Together aims to tackle this challenge by providing online, instructor-led training for learners at participating universities to earn in-demand industry-recognized credentials in skills like cloud computing, CRM, and automation.
For each participant who accesses training through one of the initiative's university or corporate partners, Upskill Together's one-to-one match scholarship program will provide the exact same training at no cost to a learner with demonstrated financial need, with a focus on supporting women, veterans, and others from groups that are historically underrepresented in the tech industry.
"AWS is on a mission to make it easier for all learners to access tech skills training, through our commitment to train 29 million people by 2025, our vast portfolio of education programs, and our collaborative efforts with education, government, industry, and impactful initiatives like SkillStorm's Upskill Together," said Kim Majerus, Vice President, U.S. Education, State and Local Government at AWS. "The intentional effort through Upskill Together will not only help close the tech skills gap, but will also introduce individuals to new career opportunities that they may not have considered without this initiative."
"We are excited to partner with Authorized Training Provider, SkillStorm to expand their workforce development program and unlock new sources of talent by driving Salesforce skills that lead students to career pathways in the Salesforce ecosystem," said Amy Regan Morehouse, Salesforce Senior Vice President, Global Salesforce Ecosystem Enablement.
"Today's employers are turning to new training and certification forms to ensure that job candidates have the skills to succeed in a fast-paced and increasingly digital world of work," said Mary Tafuri, vice president, global go-to-market enablement & effectiveness, Pega. "By bringing together leading universities with the most in-demand credentialing providers, Upskill Together is responding to critical labor market demands — and creating new pathways to mobility in the fastest-growing sectors of the economy."
"Through the first seven months of this year, U.S. employers listed approximately 3.1 million job postings for technology occupations — an increase of nearly 50% over the same period in 2021. The widening gap between employer demand for technology workers and candidates to fill these roles necessitates new thinking and innovative approaches to bring more people from more diverse backgrounds and experiences into the tech workforce," said Graham Hunter, CompTIA's executive vice president for global sales. "The Upskill Together program led by SkillStorm and its academic and industry partners holds great promise. CompTIA is pleased to be a part of this important initiative."
Upskill Together and its Founding Partners welcome inquiries from employers or higher education institutions interested in joining the initiative and making a commitment to accelerating economic opportunity. To learn more or apply for a scholarship, visit www.upskilltogether.com.
The initiative's university Founding Partners include:
Indiana Wesleyan University
Florida International University
Florida State University
University of Central Florida
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of Tampa
"The power of Upskill Together lies in its ability to create tighter connections between higher education and the workforce — while also solving the urgent imperative to address persistent issues of equity and inclusion in the tech industry," said Jim Clark, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Florida State University Panama City. "This is about providing learners with every opportunity to excel in their careers and earn higher wages to comfortably provide for their families."
"As one of Florida's largest and fastest-growing institutions, we have a responsibility to prepare our students to navigate a rapidly evolving and increasingly digital labor market," said Bridgette Cram, Interim Vice President, Innovative Education & Student Success at Florida International University. "Initiatives like Upskill Together, which draw on the unique capabilities of both higher ed institutions and leading tech employers, are helping us realize that mission — and fulfill our role as an engine of economic mobility throughout the state."
"UNLV and its leadership are always in search of new approaches that can help bridge the gap between learning and work, particularly as we evolve to support a growing population of nontraditional learners," said Joseph M. Miera, vice provost for educational outreach at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. "Our role in Upskill Together reflects our mission of expanding access to technology certification courses that can help our students, alumni, and community members access careers in the region's fastest-growing industries as the demand for diverse tech talent continues to grow."
"Jacksonville University is proud to serve as inaugural partner in Upskill Together. Today's employers are seeking very specific skill sets. Partnerships between industry and higher education institutions are creating a new ecosystem for learning. The courses are an experiential, project-based learning paradigm leading to a ready-made pool of talented students for entering the workforce," said Dr. Christine Sapienza, Jacksonville University Provost.
"IWU leadership and staff remain committed to our long history of catering to non-traditional students with programs designed and tailored to help them reach their goals," said Andy Miller, Vice President of Innovations and Partnerships at Indiana Wesleyan University. "As the labor market continues to evolve, our partnership with SkillStorm will help us provide learners with comprehensive and job-aligned training in the most in-demand skills to prepare them for careers in tomorrow's world of work."
"Unleashing the potential of all learners in our community is core to our mission at UCF," said Thomas B. Cavanagh, Vice Provost for Digital Learning at the University of Central Florida. "Upskill Together will help UCF enhance our ability to provide the training and skills that prepare learners to succeed while creating opportunity and upward mobility."
"Upskill Together enables the University of Tampa to enhance the entry of highly talented and diverse alumni in the tech industry, in perfect alignment with our commitments to education in technology and to diversity and equity for our students," said Dr. David Stern, the University of Tampa's Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.