Byte Back and UiPath are forging a new path into living-wage tech careers. This is the INCLUSIVE future of work.
By Monica Essig Aberg, Byte Back Development Intern
For the 120 million US adults without college degrees, pathways to living-wage careers are limited: over half of living-wage careers require at least a bachelor’s degree. Byte Back’s partnership with UiPath, a leader in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), aims to create a new path.
How We Got Here
During the Great Recession, unemployment was on the rise. According to a Harvard Business School report, a wider labor pool and increasing automation of workplace tasks led employers to hire more college graduates, treating a degree as a proxy for soft skills and digital expertise.
This process, known as degree inflation, meant careers previously open to those without college degrees were now out of reach. Three out of every four jobs created between 2010 and 2016 went to college graduates. Those challenges persist for bright, hard-working people like Basheerah.
Basheerah was pursuing her bachelor’s degree when she hit a roadblock too many Americans can relate to: “I didn’t have the money at the time,” she says. “I had a really sick relative and I was helping to take care of her. I had moved… A lot of bad things happened at the same time.” She had no choice but to put her education on hold to care for herself and her family.
She came to Byte Back looking for an accessible pathway to a living-wage career. She found opportunity in Byte Back’s partnership with UiPath.
A New Pathway to Living-Wage Careers
The Byte Back-UiPath partnership gives students in-demand technical skills that can help them find employment even without a college degree.
During a three-month course, students work closely with industry experts from UiPath, a software development firm specializing in Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA is a cutting-edge automation technology that is transforming workplace efficiency. At the end of the course, students will hold an RPA certification.
“Organizations like Byte Back have people who can’t wait four years and who may never have four years,” said Jim Walker, UiPath Director of Public Sector Marketing and Federal CTO in the DC area. “At the end of three months you can have a certification and, given the job market that we’re seeing in DC right now, that certification is almost an immediate hire with a myriad of companies in the area.”
Students who pursue a career in RPA can expect to eventually earn an annual income ranging from $65,000 to $140,000, according to Walker.
Basheerah earned an internship on UiPath’s public sector team, but her career prospects don’t end there. UiPath has guaranteed all students who pass the class employment with their client, Anika Systems.
Businesses Thrive and So Does Our Community
The potential impact of the Byte Back–UiPath partnership are not just significant for students but also the businesses who will hire them.
The tech industry is constantly searching for employees that specialize in emerging areas such as RPA. Nearly four in 10 US tech firms are seeking new talent, according to a recent CompTIA report.
By working directly with workforce training programs and eliminating excess job requirements, businesses can decrease recruitment time and increase employee retention. This will allow them to find and retain the talent they need to be successful in a rapidly changing industry.
Through partnerships like this, businesses can hire students who are not only certified specialists but also passionate, driven people. These added qualifications have really stood out to Jim Walker.
“[Some of these Byte Back students] are working two jobs, they have extremely tough family lives, and they’re going to meet Saturday mornings for an hour to have a tutoring class… That’s the person that you know is going to work for you when you get them in the workforce, and you just can’t buy that,” Walker said. “You have to have that on your team.”
An Economy That Works for Everyone
With the cost of a college degree increasing nearly every year, it is necessary to create more inclusive pathways to success, building a more equitable economy that benefits employees and employers alike. Byte Back’s corporate partnerships work against the degree inflation that has excluded millions of Americans from good jobs for the past decade.
“The Byte Back partnership with UiPath is ensuring that people from all backgrounds are able to truly participate and benefit and thrive in the new economy,” said Byte Back Executive Director Elizabeth Lindsey. “This opportunity will truly change their lives.”