Dec 3, 2020 - Economy

Per Scholas CEO: Government must invest resources into IT workforce development

ayala and axios' erica pandey

Axios' Erica Pandey (left) and Per Scholas president and CEO Plinio Ayala. Photo: Axios

The U.S. government must invest in workforce development, including providing American workers with IT skills that today's tech-forward economy demands, Per Scholas President and CEO Plinio Ayala said on Thursday at an Axios virtual event on the future of broadband connectivity.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in the American workforce, such as the reliance on restaurant or hospitality work. But Ayala argues skills from those roles are transferable to the IT sector "if you're given the opportunity."

  • Artificial intelligence "was going to cause a disruption in our workforce regardless, it was going to eliminate or recreate jobs in hospitality or retail or transportation. The pandemic just accelerated that," Ayala said.

What they're saying: Ayala says every $1 invested in Per Scholas, which offers no-cost tech training to workers hoping to switch to IT careers, has shown an $8 return to the economy.

  • "Many of our private investors have recognized the impact that we're having... But they can't do it alone.
  • "Government needs to be involved. This country needs to implement concrete policy changes that allow more resources to flow to effective models like ours so that we can help more people move into successful careers."

Watch the event.

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