DALLAS - Technology companies are trying to fill jobs that pay very well but do not require a college degree. Some are also working with North Texas schools to find good candidates.
When Ivanka Trump visited El Centro College in Dallas earlier this month, she focused on ways to fill information technology jobs.
The first daughter and White House adviser joined Google CEO Sundar Pichai to announce the expansion of the company’s training program at the community college.
“We really focus on students being work ready,” said Greg Morris, the executive vice president of academic affairs at El Centro College.
Morris said the Google-designed certification program makes students more marketable, opening the door to thousands of high-paying jobs.
“This is an incredible opportunity for many in communities that we serve that otherwise would not have this opportunity,” he said.
“It’s a wide open spectrum of opportunity jobs paying good wages,” said Alfreda Norman, the senior vice president of communications and outreach at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
Opportunity jobs are positions that don’t require a four-year degree but pay more than the median wage.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas, some of the top industries for growth in Dallas-Fort Worth are transportation, construction and business. IT is also at the top of that list.
Jobs in those fields boast an average pay of more than $80,000 a year.
“There’s a bit of a stigma sometimes. Parents maybe think, ‘If my child doesn’t go to college, they’re not going to get these good jobs.’ But that is not necessarily true anymore,” Norman said.
Norman said they’re also focused on opportunity youth, or the young people who could be filling those jobs.
“There’s quite a few of that age, of that cohort that are not in the job market and not going to school and that’s a real concern of this what’s called disconnected youth,” she said.
That’s where partners like the Dallas Independent School District come in.
“We have 160,000 students in Dallas ISD. We want them to be first in line to get these jobs,” said Oswaldo Alvarenga, the assistant superintendent.
The district recently announced four career institutes that will soon open offering classes where students graduate with hands on experience and certifications to get them working right away.
“That will lead to good paying jobs whether you have to work right after high school or work during college or even continue on into college,” Alvarenga said.
Like El Centro, Dallas ISD is working with employers to design the program.
Norman said that’s the key.
“There’s a lot of people that need to be involved to make it work. Employers have to think about this as an investment. This is not a social service that’s a nice thing to do,” she said.
El Centro College has 300 spots now open for the Google certification program. For more information, visit https://schedule.dcccd.edu/FALL/ECC/Prefix/ITSC and e-mail the instructor for details.