By Christy Montgomery-Jones and Todd Cohen, Maher & Maher

Are you looking to enhance your employer engagement efforts in your TechHire grant? Are you looking to work with employers at an industry level leading to placement at scale? If so, you might benefit from the industry competency models developed by the U.S. Department of Labor – Employment and Training Administration (ETA).

Over the past several years, ETA and national industry associations in fields such as information technology, manufacturing, and health care have collaborated to develop and maintain customizable models of the foundational and technical competencies that are essential to educate and train a globally competitive workforce.   

Why is this important? These models serve as key jumping off points in conversations with your business partners. Rather than approaching businesses with a blank piece of paper asking for their IT-based workforce needs, these models allow you to have an advanced conversation about specific competencies and skills, emphasizing that you’ve done your homework.

For example, the Information Technology Competency Model (ITCM) contains a compilation of competencies that can be included as a basis for preparation in an IT occupation.  In addition to fundamental IT user skills—i.e., using a computer, communication devices and related applications to input, retrieve and communicate information—as delineated in the Academic Competencies tier, the ITCM also identifies specific Industry-Wide Technical Competencies.  These include Principles of Information Technology; Databases and Applications; Software Development and Management; User & Customer Support; and Compliance.  Each Technical Competency component provides information relating to detailed critical work functions and technical content areas that the IT workforce must possess.

Similarly, the Health Information Management Competency Model identifies specific Industry Sector Technical Competencies—Health Information Literacy and Skills; Health Information Skills using Electronic Health Records; Privacy and Confidentiality of Health Information; and Health Information Data Technical Security—in addition to the Academic Competencies of Basic Computer Skills and Information Literacy. There is also a Fundamentals of Health Care Competency Model which addresses competency areas such as ethics, safety, and patient interaction, among others.

To learn more, visit Competency Model Clearinghouse, to find videos, tutorials, tools, and resources to help get your organization started using competency models.