As summer arrives and everyone hopefully enjoys a break to travel, spend time with family, or just have fun in the sun, I realize that this article may not reach as many readers as usual. It does, however, present a chance to challenge your creative thinking during part of your down time.
The following ruminations cover a variety of topics that are relevant to our purpose and some that impact all of us, just because of the higher calling in our social setting that puts each day of activity and the choices we make in the proper perspective.
In the past, I sort of made up a word to help summarize a message or group of messages. That word is communification and my “Webster-like” meaning was to communicate with an intention to unify. Many recent events, and especially the tragedy in Charleston, SC, bring forth a response that exemplifies the purest examples of communicating with an intention to unify. Leaders from all walks of life and individuals with tremendous wisdom have written and spoken some life changing words as a result of these crises and tumultuous events and positive change is visibly occurring.
As with most non-profit organizations, the mission is typically born out of some type of painful situation or socio economic circumstance. It seems clear to me that some of the best ideas and unified efforts have come as a result of a crisis of some sort. The crisis that we identified six years ago and continue to focus on is the lack of adequate supply of information technology talent in this country. While many programs have been developed and successfully implemented to address the problem, the following represent a myriad of current activity that I hope is of interest to you and may trigger you or your company’s engagement.
A Career Fair will be held in Charlotte on August 14. We expect 250-300 college students from around the southeast in Charlotte for the STARS Computing Corps conference. IT-oLogy is coordinating the Career Fair as part of our ongoing national relationship with STARS.
These STARS students are all enrolled in Computing and IT programs and have been receiving stipends for their lead roles in delivering K-12 outreach and skill building programs in their communities. These students will be looking for internships and full time entry level positions and using the IT-Gateway (available through the IT-oLogy website) to post their profiles and resumes. All HR personnel and IT leaders should read the accompanying article in this issue and follow the steps to get a booth for this career fair.
IT-oLogy just received word that the Coursepower project has received funding from the General Assembly in South Carolina to continue the expansion of the Applied Computing minor to additional higher education institutions around the state. Currently the minor or certificate program is at nine schools with planned expansion for six more. This program alone is now reaching 4000 more students than just two years ago and this is impacting every potential job category and industry.
Realizing that the talent pipeline starts early, IT-oLogy has been engaged as a collective voice of business/industry working with K-12 schools and the departments of education across multiple states. Evidence of success can be seen through the numbers of schools with actual computing curriculum, numbers of teachers receiving professional development, numbers of students choosing IT career paths increasing. These numbers in concert with thousands of young people becoming more aware of tech skills through Cyber Saturday and other supplemental programs delivered after school and on weekends is yielding more students enrolling in IT and computing programs, those getting certified as work ready and those who are taking innovative and entrepreneurial tech ideas to the next level.
To scale these programs takes coordination, and coordination requires communification (see earlier), which takes time. Time and effort requires funding. This is where private and public partners come together collaboratively to invest in the programs that are changing our future.
Right now, IT-oLogy has two programs that are eligible to receive public funding if we receive private investment to serve as match. If you are interested in expanding the reach and impact of Cyber Saturday or expanding the reach and capacity of Coursepower, please consider personal or company investments of any size and see the impact of your financial contribution double immediately.
Finally, I’ll close with a quick survey.
Q1: Do you think that all citizens need to be digitally literate and know how to use technology to function in life and work?
Q2: Do you see evidence that nearly all jobs in every industry are requiring technical IT related skills?
Q3: Is there truly a gap between open jobs in IT and the number of people available with the skills to fill them?
Q4: If the answer to any or all of the questions above is YES, then WHAT should we be doing about it? OK…..what is coming to mind immediately?
TEXT THE FIRST THINGS THAT ARE COMING TO YOUR MIND TO (803) 586-9082
Maybe this will help.
Were you thinking individually about what it means to you or your kids?
Were you thinking locally, state wide or nationally?
Were you thinking schools or businesses?
Were you thinking about programs that need to be delivered?
Were you thinking of things you already see happening in your school, your company, your job, with your friends, with your community.
Consider texting now and be a part of IT-oLogy.