What’s Next for IT/Tech Talent Strategies in Boston? We’ll be Putting Our Money Where our Mouth Is

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Ever since the launch of the Greater Boston IT/Tech Consortium in September 2016, there has been a flurry of excitement around the opportunities and challenges the Consortium has set out to address, and the possibilities for building an accessible and sustainable talent pipeline that meets the needs of Greater Boston residents and employers.

Don’t just take our word for it, after hosting two forums, we’ve been getting some awesome feedback and shout-outs via Twitter:

Continue reading “What’s Next for IT/Tech Talent Strategies in Boston? We’ll be Putting Our Money Where our Mouth Is”

Stoking a 21st Century STEAM Engine: Rocket Fuel for the Innovation Economy

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SkillWorks joined with the Cambridge Community Foundation, The Agenda for Children, Just-A-Start Corporation, the Kendall Square Association, the Metro North Regional Employment Board, and lead sponsor JPMorgan Chase, to host an exciting forum in Cambridge highlighting the importance of S.T.E.A.M. education for the growing innovation economy.  S.T.E.A.M. expands upon the S.T.E.M. education strategy to include Arts, recognizing creativity as a key driver of innovation.

As SkillWorks expands our geographic reach, this forum presented as an opportunity to develop and foster relationships with key partners in Cambridge focusing on industries and educational pathways that directly align with our work and are critical to our region’s economy.

Learn more: http://www.cambridgecf.org/content/cambridge-forum-sets-sights-shared-prosperity-through-greater-access-innovation-economy

New NPR series focuses on labor-skills mismatch

“Employers have millions of jobs they are trying to fill. But in some cases, they are having trouble.”

So begins a new series on NPR about the labor-skills mismatch that we currently have in the United States, even during this recession.

While this first segment focuses on higher skilled jobs like architects, engineers, and software developers, middle-skill jobs like airplane mechanics are also noted as being difficult to fill.  Employers also focused on the importance of post-secondary credentials and experience in terms of getting hired in the current labor market.

All of this underscores the critical nature of the work we need to do to prepare our workforce for middle-skill and high-skill jobs.  If employers can’t find the workers they need, even in the midst of the worst recession in recent history, we clearly need to do a better job of aligning our training and educational systems to where the jobs are.  Of course, part of this work needs to be focused on the K-12 pipeline, integrating STEM into the curriculum, strengthening college preparation and improving basic skills.

However, we cannot ignore the fact that two-thirds of our 2020 workforce is already past high school, and many adults need opportunities to re-train or up-skill as well.  Here in Massachusetts, this means we need stronger and more adult basic education programs; better transitions to post-secondary education and training; better linkages between workforce development, adult education, higher education, and businesses; support for adults in post-secondary education; more evening/weekend/modular/accelerated certificate and credential programs; and more investment overall in public higher education.

If we can’t give our workforce the skills to compete in the 21st century economy, we’ll all lose the race.

Business needs to step up in STEM education

A dwindling supply of college graduates in STEM fields matched with an increasing supply of future STEM jobs is a recipe for labor shortages and constraints on economic growth.

Yesterday, Mass High Tech issued a call to action for businesses help build a pipeline of workers with STEM skills. Making investments to skill up our current workforce is a great place to start. There are great examples of businesses who have stepped up to provide on-site skills training, tuition advancement, and release time, not only to managers but also to line level staff in order to facilitate their education and advancement and build a pipeline of talent for critical positions.

Two-thirds of our 2020 workforce is in the workforce today. While it’s important to build a K-12 STEM pipeline, it’s also critical to invest in today’s workers.

Right here in Massachusetts, Nypro has a partnership with Fitchburg State College to deliver a plastics technology certificate program that’s both customized to their needs but that also articulates to a portable Associates Degree. This provides tremendous opportunity for both incumbent workers at Nypro to upgrade their skills as well as job seekers interested in a career in manufacturing. In fact, Nypro’s Angelo Sabatolo, Corporate Director of Training and Organizational Development, recently shared that many students enrolled in Nypro University are not Nypro employees, and that Nypro does sometimes end up training their competitors. He says, however, that Nypro sees its investment in training as a way to build its own workforce as well as a way to strengthen the industry as a whole.

As Mr. Sabatalo says, “The development and sustainability of a quality workforce demands a significant and continued investment in education and training. [H]uman capital is our most valuable asset. [L]earning and professional development (are) strategic elements to our success.”

The same holds true for the Commonwealth.