Indiana expands “earn and learn” computer training program

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Written by Colin Wood

A workforce program that allows Indiana’s IT department to train its own technology staff, many of whom have no prior technical experience, is expanding to other agencies after early success, said Monday. an official at StateScoop.

Since beginning to remove educational requirements from most job descriptions in 2019, the Indiana Office of Technology has partnered with the workforce development agency of the State to launch the State Earn And Learn, or SEAL, program where adults in non-tech industries earn degrees and prepare for state IT jobs. Jon Rogers, IOT’s director of strategic workforce planning, said the program has since attracted interest from other hiring managers across Indiana and is now training staff to the State Housing and Community Development Authority and the State Department of Health.

The SEAL program, which pays its mature students while they learn alongside state government computer scientists, has hired 47 people so far, Rogers said. Nine graduated in state computing roles.

“I have people on the program who are truck drivers, factory workers, line cooks, grocery store workers, really a very, very diverse number of walks of life,” he said. he said in an interview for StateScoop’s Priorities podcast.

The state enlists the help of labor firm Brooksource and community colleges to attract students and conduct initial interviews. IT managers in Indiana and state governments elsewhere frequently lament the difficulty of competing with the private sector for sufficient numbers of employees. A recent survey of state CIOs found that labor is often the top concern in 2022.

“Too often, between private sector salaries and remote working capabilities…it’s hard to compete with this stuff for specialist computing, so we’re doing everything we can to train these knowledge assets early on. of their careers,” Rogers said.

When the program started, Rogers said, it focused on getting non-technical people to learn technical skills, but more recently its focus has shifted to other aspects of the job, like working in team and communication skills.

“Some people have never worked as a team,” he said. “[It’s] making sure people understand how to interact in a team, how to express themselves, how to be good communicators, do some of the other skills. Getting that other part of the skills setup that’s not just certificates, that part is really key, and getting people to fit into government work is really key.

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