It is projected that 60,000 digital tech and tech adjacent roles will go unfilled annually in the Capital Region through 2025. CoLAB’s TalentReady program aims to address this demand for tech talent by expanding access to employer-aligned competencies for thousands of young people in the region, beginning in high school, particularly for learners from diverse backgrounds.

TalentReady is funded by JPMorgan Chase and Bloomberg Philanthropies to create and enhance industry-aligned IT pathways starting in high school. This initiative brings together K-12 and higher education leaders from five communities—Baltimore City, MD; Fairfax County, VA; Montgomery County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; and the District of Columbia—to partner with each other and employers on designing pathways that connect high school curricula, postsecondary degrees, certifications, and real-world work experiences to in-demand IT careers.

Beginning in high school, students enrolled in TalentReady IT pathways will take a series of courses embedded with the competencies that employers in the region prioritize for entry-level jobs. At the same time, the CoLAB will leverage its employer network to explore new ways of advancing project-based and work-based learning opportunities to students enrolled in IT pathways. The partnerships developed through this initiative will connect more young people from diverse backgrounds to economic opportunities, provide employers with the talent they need to thrive and strengthen the broader regional economy.

This investment will lead to:

  • Increased student enrollment in demand-driven IT pathways that extend from high school through postsecondary education
  • More regional employers hiring youth with credentials from educational institutions in the Capital Region
  • An Employer Signaling System that empowers educators to design and scale career pathways aligned to current, regional workforce needs
  • Intermediaries serve a key role of connecting learners, educators, and employers across the WBL spectrum and coordinating WBL efforts.

By providing students with meaningful training and workplace exposure, CoLAB aims to broaden the aperture of students gaining the skills and industry experience needed to successfully start a career in the digital tech economy. Check out CoLAB’s Digital Tech College & Career Readiness Series, a free video collection for students looking to launch their careers in digital tech.