There are more than 600,000 open computing job in the U.S. today and a shortage of cyber technology professionals to fill these jobs, including crucial roles in the federal government. According to Rep. Ami Bera, MD (D-CA), "We have critical national security needs that are going unmet because the government struggles to attract and retain necessary talent." Bera discusses a possible solution, the TechCorps Bill, which could energize the federal technology workforce and provide options to help reduce student debt.
Visit Rep. Bera on the web.
Recorded April 26, 2017.
Traynham: There are currently more than 600,000 open computing jobs nationwide. Last year, an estimated 60,000 computer-science students graduated into the workforce. Congressman Ami Bera, who's a Democrat from California, is here to join us. Congressman, why are there so many open jobs.
Bera: Well, we know where the future workforce is gonna need -- technology and the technological revolution. But what we re not doing is if you look at the K-12 educational system, you know, we re not teaching our kids how to code, we re not exposing them early on enough. And what we've got to do is start modernizing public education so we have that linked learning, training our kids with those skill sets that they re gonna need for the future.
Traynham:I remember when I was in elementary school there were all these nurses and doctors -- and by a way of background, we should also mention to our viewers you are also a medical doctor -- coming into the elementary schools and saying, "We need more doctors and nurses." And I remember asking my teacher, "Why are they talking to us in the fifth grade " And they re saying, "Well, we need these people in the pipeline now, because when they graduate from high school, hopefully they will pick being, you know, premed or whatever the case may be for college." In other words, they were trying to indoctrinate us from the beginning. I get the sense that more and more people are doing that with young people when it comes to STEM -- science, technology, engineering, and math -- making math fun, making science fun. Is that part of the problem There s not enough people in the pipeline, or kids in the pipeline
Bera:Absolutely. I m on the Science and Technology Committee, and we ve had experts come in, and they say as early as elementary school is when we should start exposing kids to the basics of coding. That s the new language of the future. Part of the challenge is we don t have many teachers that know how to code and can teach that coding, and part of what we have to do is start incenting teachers to get that skill. They can go through 12-week boot camps and the like, get those skills, go back into coding. Now, though, the challenge is we can t pay them $40,000 a year to teach, because you just saw that job mismatch. Silicon Valley will hire them for $100,000. I m the son of a public-school teacher. Let s make teaching a profession so if you go out and get this critical skill set necessary to teach our kids, let s pay those teachers a little bit more.
Traynham:So, Dr. Bera, it sounds like that is the long-term maybe solution to this problem, but what is the short-term solution How do you get some folks to sign up for those Silicon Valley jobs now, today
Bera:Well, some of what we think about is this bill called Tech Corps to incent folks to go into technology, particularly for the government, right We have critical cybersecurity needs. We can t hire the best and the brightest, so we ve introduced a bill that says "You know, if you go out and get that technological training and then come work for the government and serve our government and our country, you know, we ll help forgive some of those student loans."
Traynham: So, I think that's important to really kind of drill down a minute, because as I understand it, more and more people are getting advanced degrees, but they re coming out with heavy debts. They re coming out with significant amounts of student-loan debt, and they re saying, "I guess I m smart, but I have this piece of paper that says I have all these zeroes behind it in terms of the debt that I have." So repeat this again -- What are you specifically calling for here
Bera:So, we re calling for the creation of a Tech Corps, which incents folks to go into critical jobs and so forth.
Bera:And then if they get those technological skills and they re willing to come work for the federal government, we would help pay off some of their student loans.
Traynham:I think that is phenomenal. And so for someone who is really interested in this program, Dr. Bera, what s the next step Is it still in infantile stage Is this signed into law
Bera:No. So, we ve introduced the bill. The next step for folks that are watching this who are interested in this, contact your member of Congress, tell him to get on the Tech Corps bill.
The Asian American Pacific Islander community makes up six percent of the U.S. population, but is growing more than four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population. Asians are the largest group of immigrants to enter the U.S. as immigrants. A conversation with Janelle Wong, Senior Researcher at AAPI Data about the fastest-growing but one of the understudied racial groups in the United States.
The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be hosted this summer in Seattle, with more than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 states and the District of Columbia. Jason Schriml of the Special Olympics USA Games discussed the impact the games and this organization that highlights athletes with intellectual disabilities through highly competitive sports, uplifting experiences, and demonstrating inclusion for all.
Preparations are underway for the 2020 United States Census. A fair and accurate count of all communities is of major importance, as data gathered is used to determine federal funding, congressional representation and more. For some populations, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the process can be of concern due to immigration status, language barriers and fear of providing personal information. John Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC joins Robert Traynham to discuss the importance of an accurate count, especially for the AAPI population in America.
Filipino Americans make up the third largest subgroup of Asian Americans today, with millennials comprising nearly a quarter of this population. And while there about 4 million Filipino and Filipino Americans living in the U.S today, this population is underrepresented in political and leadership roles. Brendan Flores, National Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations joins Robert Traynam to discuss the welfare and well-being of Filipino Americans and efforts to strengthen the personal and professional development of young Filipino Americans.
According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. Asian population increased 72 percent between 2000 and 2015, resulting in the fastest growth rate of any major racial or ethnic group. And as this population continues to grow, there remains a lack of involvement in politics and corporate leadership positions. Kendall Kosai, Deputy Director at OCA National discussed programs designed to help high school students explore their identity, and encourage them to become future community leaders.
Korean Americans, like many other Asian Americans, are recent immigrants to the United States, emigrating in large numbers after 1965. As first and second generation Americans, many still have close ties with their homeland, where family and friends still reside. A discussion with Sam Yoon, Executive Director of the Council of Korean Americans on the Korean American community, including their ties to both North and South Korea.
Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the country. And while this population engages locally within communities, there is a lack of civic engagement at the federal level. Gregg Orton, National Director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans shares efforts to encourage more engagement from this population not only to advocate for the needs of the AAPI community, but to add diversity to representation and the national dialogue.
Twenty years ago, only four percent of Fortune 500 companies had any kind of protection for LGBT people. Today, only about four percent don't have those protections. Selisse Berry, Founder and CEO of Out and Equal Workplace Advocates reflects on the work she and her organization have done over the past two decades and the work yet to be done for LGBT Equality. This discussion continues in part 2 (Journey to Workplace Equality).
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Interview recorded on May 17, 2017.
The LGBTQ fight for equal rights became organized in 1969, after the riots at New York City's Stonewall Inn. LGBTQ civil rights activist and author Mark Segal has been involved in the movement from its beginning. Mark joins Robert Traynham for a candid and intimate discussion about his life, his role in the fight for equality, and the state of LGBTQ rights across America and around the globe. Mark is the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News. This discussion continues in part 2 (Journey Toward LGBTQ Equality).
Visit the Philadelphia Gay News on the web, on Facebook or follow on Twitter.
Interview recorded on May 17, 2017.
The United States Census Bureau provides data about the nation’s people and economy. While that data is used by our government for planning and redistricting purposes, there are private sector applications as well – especially for businesses. DeVere Kutscher, Principal with Public Private Strategies discusses the importance of census accuracy and its effect on businesses making informed decisions.