Hire, Train, Deploy: How SkillStorm Is Remodeling Reskilling — Closing the Gap From the Inside Out
As our world becomes increasingly technologically oriented, degrees in the tech field are highly coveted. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 11 percent from 2019 to 2029, and these occupations are projected to add about 531,200 new jobs in total.
Although employment growth in the tech industry is significantly faster than the average for other occupations, tech employers require hard skills that are rarely taught in typical universities or Bachelor’s degree programs. Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, SkillStorm has found a solution to this hurdle.
SkillStorm: An effective way forward
Built on the mission of accelerating careers in high-demand technologies, SkillStorm provides a variety of opportunities for graduates and veterans to hone their tech skills and connect with industry leaders. Along with offering free and affordable classes both online and in-person, SkillStorm has created a truly unique program in which they pay students to train with them at no cost. After their training is complete, SkillStorm positions students in roles with their Fortune 500 clients.
“Our purpose is to accelerate opportunity. To make everybody who works with us reach what they aspire to faster,” says SkillStorm Executive Vice President for Recruitment Alan Coheley.
Since its founding, SkillStorm has been largely focused on traditional IT staffing, and has more than 300 employees on contract through those initiatives. However, in the last few years, SkillStorm has embarked on what they call a “next generation model” which is focused on hiring, training, and deploying young technical talent. Organizations like Trilogy Education Services, a 2U, Inc. brand, work closely with SkillStorm to provide emerging talent for the tech training program.
“Trilogy offers extraordinary training and boot camps in emerging technology,” says Ryan Szala, National Director of Upskilling & Corporate Training at SkillStorm. “For the purposes of our clients, SkillStorm will come in and add an additional level of strength and skill in the cutting-edge, niche technology that’s needed for a particular employer. It’s a very complementary relationship that we have.”
Although there are a number of technical education providers out there, SkillStorm’s rigorous screening process, competitive compensation, and top-notch clientele is what sets them apart from the competition.
“We’re placing people with Fortune 500 Companies and large federal contractors,” says Alan. “I think if you look at our client list and compare it to our competitors, you’d see a big difference.”
The growing need for talent
However, even Fortune 500 Companies are experiencing talent shortages — a problem that’s been plaguing the tech industry for decades. Alan explains that more than one hundred thousand unfilled tech jobs remain every year, and that out of four million graduates each year, only 65,000 hold tech degrees. Often, even these candidates lack the hard skills that employers seek.
“With more than a hundred thousand unfilled jobs in the field, we’re never going to be able to close that gap with just the folks who graduated from college. Like Trilogy, we know we have to take them to the next level,” says Alan.
The skills gap has a known source: as technology continues to rapidly evolve, university curricula are unable to keep up. Alan explains that the process to change a curriculum at a university takes upwards of a year, so by the time the new curriculum is designed, the technology has already changed. He states that SkillStorm focuses on emerging technologies, and can design up-to-date training in about a month.
Gain employable skills through experiential learning — and get paid to do it
To address the ever-growing skills gap, SkillStorm provides free, hands-on training in today’s most in-demand technologies, tools, and platforms. These include AWS, AI, robotics, PEGA, Salesforce, and ServiceNow.
“We close the skills gap by reskilling, upskilling, and offering training in technology that’s employable,” says Ryan.
Part of what makes SkillStorm so unique is their approach to compensating their students. During their 10 to 12 weeks of training, SkillStorm pays students to help them focus 100% of their time and energy on gaining new skills.
“We tell them, ‘that’s not your teacher, that’s your supervisor,’” says Alan. “‘And this is not your school, this is your job.’”
Along with technology training, SkillStorm teaches students how to work in groups and conduct themselves professionally before interviewing with potential employers.
“We give them a foundation they can use to take their career and catapult it at exceptional companies,” says Ryan. “Their resumes are rounded out when they come through SkillStorm’s model.”
Apart from the Graduate Accelerator Program, SkillStorm offers a wide range of classes for individuals who do not wish to work for SkillStorm or can’t relocate. The SkillStorm Accelerator Program provides affordable online courses and certifications through leading universities. For those who do not have prior experience in tech, StormSurge offers affordable as well as free self-paced online courses. Lastly, SkillStorm provides full-time (online and in-person) instructor-led training certifications at an affordable cost.
“We’ll teach you. We know you’ve got the aptitude and the computer science aspiration, so we’ll teach you that technology,” says Alan.
SkillStorm acknowledged the growing skill gap in tech employment and came up with an exceptional and innovative solution, making them true trailblazers in the field of technical education.
Want to connect to more inspiring industry professionals? Our Career Engagement Network has partnered with 260+ employers to gain insights that we apply to our curricula to ensure our boot camps cover the most in-demand skills. Boot camp learners get access to those partners through exclusive networking events, recruiting webinars, and job referrals. Visit our website or speak with admissions to learn more about the career services available through Columbia Engineering Boot Camps.