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Creating IT Futures Uses Real-Time Job Data to Identify New Growth Opportunities

 

“They showed us where IT jobs were most available and which cities had the highest concentration of IT jobs. Then we quickly realized that Burning Glass’ data could dig much deeper.”

Jeff Lareau

Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Creating IT Futures

The Client

Creating IT Futures is the tech workforce charity of CompTIA, the world’s largest IT industry association. Creating IT Futures builds on-ramps for underrepresented and underserved people (such as women and ethnic minorities) to prepare for, secure, and succeed in IT careers. Their eight-week bootcamp course, IT-Ready, began in Minneapolis in 2012. IT-Ready provides students with certifications to get them into entry-level positions such as help desk and IT support. On average, 88% of IT-Ready’s students graduate, 86% of graduates are placed into IT jobs, and 85% of graduates stay in IT jobs for at least two years.

The Challenge

With the success of IT-Ready in Minneapolis, Creating IT Futures decided to expand their program nationally. Initially, they offered pop-up IT courses in various cities across the country, but soon realized they needed to establish a consistent local presence to build relationships with students and employers over time. They proved this approach by expanding local programs in Charlotte, NC and Portland, OR. Based on this success, Creating IT Futures is planning to expand into 10 total cities in the next five years to have a national impact.

With such an aggressive plan, the team needed to quickly identify cities or regions with a strong demand for IT jobs. But how could program managers know which cities had a verifiable demand for IT workers?

Initially, Creating IT Futures began looking at metro areas based on internal recommendations from leadership and CompTIA staff. Once identified, the team then needed to vet the cities to ensure the program could secure long-term grants – criteria such as the amount of IT employers, available funders, and potential for competition. This proved to be a very time- consuming process. Their team needed a more efficient methodology to target the best possible locations for their future students.

With such an aggressive plan, the team needed to quickly identify cities or regions with a strong demand for IT jobs. But how could program managers know which cities had a verifiable demand for IT workers?

The Solution

To find a more data-driven approach, Creating IT Futures partnered with CompTIA’s market research team, who were using Burning Glass Technologies’ data to produce reports on the labor market for the IT professionals. Burning Glass Technologies is a labor market analytics firm that transforms daily job postings into actionable data on skills.

“These reports gave us an overall view of how the IT field was doing. They showed us where IT jobs were most available and which cities had the highest concentration of IT jobs. Then we quickly realized that Burning Glass’ data could dig much deeper,” said Jeff Lareau, Manager, Strategic Partnerships at Creating IT Futures.

Burning Glass can analyze labor market data from a broad level, such as popular jobs by region, down to a detailed level, such as which skills were needed in specific jobs. The team found that by using Burning Glass’s labor market data they were able to quickly develop a model to target cities with the biggest gaps in IT. They used Job Pulse, Burning Glass’s job market analysis tool, to evaluate cities based on their demand for entry-level IT jobs, concentration of jobs vs the national average, and the time it took companies to fill positions.

“Understanding which companies were struggling with the time needed to fill roles was a key factor. Knowing this information allowed our team to reach out to companies in need of talent to build partnerships.”

Jeff Lareau

Creating IT Futures

Working with Creating IT Futures can create a bridge between the hiring departments and PR departments

of companies. These departments typically have different objectives for partnering with external organizations based on their business goals. The workforce mission objectives developed when partnering with Creating IT Futures can help these different business units create aligned goals, which ultimately creates more opportunity for those who need it.

“We partner with local employers, workforce boards, and charities in order to ensure our courses are successfully funded and help to connect our graduates to jobs,” said Lisa Fasold, Senior Director, Marketing & Communications at Creating IT Futures.

After assessing viable partnerships, donors, and further criteria in 25 cities, the next three cities Creating IT Futures are focusing on expanding into are Chicago, Denver, and Phoenix. According to the insights gathered from real-time labor market data, these cities are great fits for the program. “We’re excited to be moving into these big cities that are the right fit for our students and organization. I’m looking forward to spreading our wings over the next few years,” Lareau said.

Job Market Analysis

Job Pulse provides real-time job data for recruiting and staffing organizations. Creating IT Futures used Job Pulse to evaluate cities based on their demand for entry- level IT jobs, concentration of jobs versus the national average, and the time it took companies to fill positions.

Key Takeaways

  • Creating IT Futures needed a data-driven methodology to target metropolitan areas for an aggressive expansion of their IT-Ready program.
  • By using Burning Glass labor market data, Creating IT Futures was able to effectively analyze 25 cities to identify opportunities based on demand, concentration, and time needed to fill IT specialist jobs.
  • Creating IT Futures identified employers to build partnerships by identifying companies struggling to fill IT roles.
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