To enhance their IT staffs, companies including MetLife (New York, $302.5 billion in assets) and Allstate (Northbrook, Ill., $90.7 billion in assets) will participate in a program aimed at improving the IT skills of the U.S. workforce. Nearly 2,700 U.S. technology workers in 12 states will benefit from the program, funded by grants that have been awarded to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA, Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.) by the U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration. The grants total $6 million, according to John Engman, director of strategic development, CompTIA.
"The government is helping to train our workers to keep up with current demand so that companies don't have to go outside of the U.S. [for human resources]," asserts Engman. Fifteen hundred IT workers from MetLife and Allstate will be trained in areas including Web design and development, network architecture, systems and database engineering, and software quality assurance. Funding for the grants is taken from fees paid by employers who bring foreign workers to the U.S. under H-1B non-immigrant visas, which are granted when a highly skilled or specialty worker cannot be found in the U.S.
Because the insurer had received training in the past from CompTIA member company IBM (Armonk, N.Y.), CompTIA approached MetLife to participate in the program. Allstate, which was seeking funds for IT training, joined the consortium rather than approach the grant application process independently. CompTIA's goals for participating workers include certification attainment, wage increases and promotions within their companies.