New Report Highlights IT and Healthcare as Key Drivers of Our Regional Economy

The Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative, an initiative of The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, has partnered with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to develop new a research report, Greater Washington Works: IT and Health Careers with Promise, released today. The report focuses on how our region can address the skills gap and lift more of our neighbors out of poverty through careers in IT and Healthcare.

With over 70% of net new jobs requiring post-secondary education and training, the Washington regional economy continues to be highly knowledge-based. Local employers, however, face challenges in finding skilled workers. Nearly 800,000 individuals in our region have no education past high school, highlighting a skills gap that has the potential to undermine our region’s global economic competitiveness.

Further, while it is encouraging that our regional unemployment rate has improved to pre-Great Recession levels, many of our neighbors are still struggling to make ends meet. Our region can count 100,000 additional residents living below the Federal poverty level since 2009. African American or Latino workers in the region are three times more likely to earn an income below the poverty level. Addressing our region’s race, ethnicity, and gender-based income inequality is a critical challenge for our region to tackle if we want to ensure that all in our region have a fair shot for prosperity.

Healthcare and Information Technology as Growth Drivers

Following a 15-year period of unprecedented growth, the regional economy has begun to signal slowing growth as the District and its suburban Northern Virginia and Maryland neighbors feel the impact of cuts to federal spending, historically the region’s chief economic driver. In contrast to relatively flat public sector hiring since 2010, healthcare and IT job growth in the region is expected to keep pace with or slightly exceed projected national job growth. The report finds:

  • · 12% projected growth in healthcare employment during 2016-2021.
  • · 6% projected growth in IT employment during 2016-2021.
  • · 3x growth in cybersecurity jobs during 2010-2014 in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia.
  • · $6,500 yearly average salary premium in the nation for cybersecurity specialists compared to other information technology salaries.

Employers in all industries across Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia will maintain strong demand in the coming years for “middle-skill” workers – those individuals employed in occupations that require postsecondary education and training beyond high school but less than a four-year degree. “We believe that this report provides important data for our region’s workforce stakeholders—including government, business, nonprofits, and philanthropy—to help support efforts to address the skills gap that is a driver of our region’s poverty,” commented Daryl Graham, Vice President at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Global Philanthropy for the Mid-Atlantic Region. “JPMorgan Chase & Co. is proud to partner with The Community Foundation and the Workforce Collaborative on our collective work to fund solutions to the skills gap that impact those that are most in need in the Washington region.”

Investments in Workforce Development A Win for Workers, Employers and the Region

As a multi-stakeholder regional initiative and following the release of this report, The Workforce Collaborative is poised to assist Greater Washington employers and workers through a new set of philanthropic investments in regional workforce development programming. The Community Foundation’s President, Bruce McNamer, notes that “The Community Foundation has maintained a focus on workforce development for the past decade and is committed to helping more of our region’s most vulnerable residents achieve greater economic opportunities. We are excited to not only support this new research but to announce a new funding opportunity—Greater Washington Works—that will invest nearly $1 million over the next two years in work to bridge the skills gap that is keeping workers in low-wage jobs, reinforcing income inequality, and keeping local business from finding the best local candidates for open job opportunities.”

Alongside the report, today The Community Foundation released a Request for Proposals focused on supporting IT and Healthcare employer-led partnerships to help connect more low-income Washington area residents to living wage careers. The initiative’s goal is to both help meet the talent needs of local IT and Healthcare employers as well as support low-income individuals with significant barriers to employment to launch or advance in living-wage careers.

The RFP is available here.

Read the Full Greater Washington Works Report

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The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region

The Community Foundation works to ensure equity, access, and opportunity for all residents in the Washington metropolitan area. Our mission is to strengthen the Washington metropolitan region by encouraging and supporting effective giving and by providing leadership on critical issues in our community. The region’s largest local grantmaker with grants of more than $70 million last year, we are a community of givers dedicated to inspiring and creating change across the Washington region and beyond.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Around the world, employers, educators, policymakers, training organizations and others have recognized the critical importance of addressing the skills gap. In 2013, JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched a $250 million, five-year global initiative it calls New Skills at Work to address this important challenge. The firm has directed its resources, expertise and global reach to help inform and accelerate demand-driven workforce development systems, engage employers in sector partnerships, support training programs that align with local demand, and prepare youth and adults for careers in high-demand, middle-skill occupations. To advance this work, the company is supporting data analysis in domestic and international markets, including Chicago, Columbus, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, San Francisco, Washington DC, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom.

The Greater Washington Workforce Development Collaborative

The Workforce Collaborative is a coalition of local workforce investors who share a common commitment to addressing poverty and income inequality by helping workers advance their skills and credentials so they can earn family-sustaining wages. Current Collaborative partners include The Community Foundation, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Consumer Health Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the Moriah Fund, Northern Virginia Health Foundation, Patricia Weiss Fagen, the Scheidel Foundation, United Way of the National Capital Area, and the Washington Area Women’s Foundation.