- So Says Ida Byrd-Hill, CEO of Automation Workz, Which Is Capitalizing on the Trend to End the Digital Talent Shortage
There has been much discussion about “The Great Resignation” in which low-paid employees are refusing to come back to jobs that had put their health in jeopardy during the pandemic. But according to Ida Byrd-Hill, CEO of Automation Workz, a cybersecurity reskilling and diversity consulting firm, that’s not what is going on at all.
She says, “The so-called Great Resignation is really The Great Upgrade.” By that, she means that thanks to the pandemic, low-wage earners who had previously been fearful of technology were forced to use it to shepherd their children through a virtual learning environment and now that the pandemic is on the wane these same employees want to be able to use their new-found tech skills as a path to better jobs and greater compensation.
According to Bryd-Hill, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated an American workforce caste system already sharply divided into higher- and lower-paid workers. Higher-paid workers performed their jobs remotely at home while lower-paid workers had no choice but to show up at a physical location or were laid off. Most of the lower-paid workers were African, Hispanic, Native American and women.
These diverse workers are now ready to learn business tech: IoT support, cybersecurity, software development and data analytics, Bryd-Hill points out. Her company, Automation Workz, a two-year-old cybersecurity certification and diversity consulting firm, prepares African American women to sit for the CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associates) exam. Three-quarters of its first graduate cohort were African American women. Byrd-Hill says 30% of the company’s learners are earning six-figure incomes as network automation engineers, network firewall auditors, system engineers, cybersecurity analysts, and level 3 support at such corporations as Deloitte & Touche, Logicalis, Itential, Red Ventures and Fed Ex. She says the candidate with the highest job offer is earning $117,000.
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“Our goal is to prepare 100,000 African American learners with our culturally relevant curriculum of 152 digital simulations and a Life Culture Audit to secure six-figure jobs. In fact, Automation Workz received $10 million in growth financing to scale The Great Upgrade across America. Just imagine a $10 billion infusion of wealth in the African American community.”
Byrd Hill warns, “Corporations that are not providing diverse tech education providers and instructors with culturally relevant digital reskilling will lose the talent war during The Great Upgrade.”
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