Evaluation of the Orange County Information Technology Cluster Competitiveness Project

By Ursula Bischoff, Staci Wendt, Lisa Le Fevre, John Rice

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Description

An abundance of open information technology (IT) jobs in Orange County, CA, go unfilled due to an insufficient local pool of skilled candidates. A disconnect exists between the IT skills that businesses need and available education and training programs.

In addition, communication between local businesses and education communities on this issue has been insufficient and ineffective.

The Orange County Information Technology Cluster Competitiveness Project was created to address these challenges, specifically to:

  • Increase collaboration among businesses, education organizations, and workforce-development stakeholders, and improve alignment between employer demand and IT education supply by implementing a business-led, intensive planning process
  • Implement pilot projects providing innovative education and training options to build local IT career pathways for youth, students, and veterans

This report describes WestEd’s evaluation of the project, which included a formative, outcome and cost study.

Key Findings

  • Businesses held more positive perspectives on the planning process than did education stakeholders, who thought it would have been helpful to have direct communication with businesses earlier in the process
  • A pilot to bridge the digital divide for secondary students was highly successful, transforming teachers’ approaches to career awareness and education, and engaging students, parents, businesses, schools and colleges in a wide variety of activities
  • The project successfully piloted internship matching systems for youth and veterans

Learn more about the Evaluation of the Orange County Information Technology Cluster Competitiveness Project.