Legislation takes aim at work force gap in tech sector

Cory Gardner
US Senator Cory Gardner

Proposed legislation would allow state technology associations and other industry intermediaries to receive federal grants to develop apprenticeship programs as part of an effort to fill a work force gap in the sector.

U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado, and Martin Heinrick, a Democrat from New Mexico, introduced the Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees (CHANCE) in Technology Act. Four U.S. representatives introduced companion legislation in the House.

“As the technology sector begins to play an even larger role in our economy, it’s important our work force has the necessary skills and training to perform these jobs,” Gardner said. “The technology industry currently faces a work force shortage, and Congress must work together to address this problem. This bipartisan legislation is an innovative solution to address the work force shortage and will result in more Coloradans and Americans across the country receiving the proper training to enter the technology industry. The next 100 years will be defined by our ability to compete in the technology sector and the CHANCE in Tech Act will help the United States remain the global leader in technological developments.”

In 2016 alone, the technology sector contributed an estimated $1 trillion to the U.S. economy, employed more than 7 million workers and added more than 100,000 new jobs. Still, there can be more than 500,000 job openings in the sector during any given 90-day period.

Andrea Young, president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Technology Association, said the demand for tech talent in Colorado continues to accelerate. “While we attract young workers from across the country, we need to create clear pathways for local students to make the leap into tech careers,” Young said. “Initiatives like the CHANCE in TECH Act can help connect candidates with work-based learning opportunities that grow our state’s economy and provides employers with another option in their overall talent acquisition strategy.”