A key step in addressing the tech talent gap is bringing together academic institutions, students, and employers to shed light on in-demand skills, jobs, and career pathways in the region. Greater Washington Partnership, an alliance of the region’s leading employers, launched the Capital CoLAB to do just that.

Across the Capital Region, 60,000 tech and tech adjacent positions risk going unfilled annually by 2025. Closing this gap is a challenge with many layers, and it requires cross-sector engagement and systemic and strategic, scaled approaches to connect workers with employers.

The CoLAB aims to build the Capital Region’s diverse digital tech ecosystem by partnering with employers and educators to build industry-aligned digital tech pathways that ensure inclusive growth, with the ultimate goal of developing the most diverse tech workforce in the country.

To advance its vision and mission, CoLAB launched the Digital Tech Credential Scholarship in 2021 to encourage students from underrepresented communities in tech to pursue industry aligned coursework. Regionally, Black and Hispanic workers are underrepresented in the tech workforce, with 17% of the tech workforce comprised of Black employees and 5% of Hispanic employees, despite making up 25% and 9% of the total workforce respectively. In the 2021-2022 academic year, CoLAB university partners awarded 73 scholarships to students pursuing digital tech coursework: 48% of those students were first-generation college students, 60% were women, and 77% were from racial and ethnic backgrounds underrepresented in tech.

We partnered with Monumental Sports & Entertainment to host the inaugural Student Career Exploration & Game Day at the Capital One Arena on Saturday, October 8th to highlight how digital tech skillsets—including data analysis, cybersecurity, and visualization—fuel an array of industries and career pathways across the Capital Region. This event is the first of its kind for CoLAB’s Scholarship cohort, and we would like to thank Monumental for their support and commitment to our scholarship students.