This morning, I attended the Power Breakfast Series, a networking and panel discussion put on by the folks at SC Biz News. Today’s panel topic was on “Working Through the Recession,” and featured BB&T President Michael Brennan, Michelin’s Executive VP of Personnel and Chief Human Resources Officer Wayne Culbertson and VC3’s CEO David Dunn. The panel weighed in on how their businesses have ridden the wave of the recession, dealing with the financial downfalls and the possibilities of employee layoffs.
The conversation was very open and insightful, discussing the value of employees, how layoffs were avoided and taking the brave step to reinvest in their talent. David, a good friend of IT-oLogy, talked about taking advantage of the times and relocating his space to 1301 Gervais Street, assessing customer needs and rolling out new products and services as a way to retain his employees. Michelin made the decision to cut back plant hours for a few months to save 700-900 jobs across the nation. BB&T was able to weather most of the storm by keeping their employees and investing in their renowned Leadership Development program for recent graduates.
The conversation turned to economic development and education in South Carolina, a hot topic these days. There was one comment from Michael Brennan that struck me immediately. He said, “We have all the ingredients in South Carolina to be a lot better than we are.”
He’s right. We do have the ingredients. We have talented individuals who want to and are contributing to society. We have manufacturers, corporations and businesses bringing economic development and dollars to the state of South Carolina. We have over 100 colleges, universities, technical colleges and professional institutions, all providing avenues for higher education. We have tourism bringing millions of people to SC each year to enjoy our beaches, historic towns, Capitol city, renowned zoos and gorgeous Upstate areas. We have emerging entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as those already established and seasoned.
So where do we (in a large, unified SC sense) go from here? How do we take South Carolina to the next level?
Here’s how IT-oLogy is working to make these changes. It starts with our youth. Our education system needs innovation and change. We need to energize and excite our children when it comes to learning. We need to prepare them for a career, whether it be one right out of high school or after graduating from med school. Youth need to know their options. IT-oLogy is working with K-12 students, parents and educators to make sure they are informed about the IT profession, and providing students with real world experiences to broaden their understanding of IT.
We need to make sure our colleges and universities are providing curriculum and experiences that prepare graduates to meet industry needs. Curriculum needs to match up with the changes that take place in our global economy. Students need opportunities to gain experience so they have more than a diploma. IT-oLogy is working with colleges and university professors to shape the curriculum to keep up with changes in the industry. We are connecting educators and industry executives to identify needs and shortfalls. IT-oLogy is also connecting college students with internships through the Next Generation IT Internship Program.
Learning does not stop with college graduation. Professionals need to continue educating themselves on the newest trends, especially in the IT field. Businesses need to identify ways to collaborate to reduce the costs of training programs. IT-oLogy is making these things happen by hosting conferences and workshops, such as POSSCON and the Cyber Summit, to keep professionals updated on the latest trends and hot topics. We are also connecting similar companies within industries to join together to provide professional development opportunities and entry-level training programs to reduce costs, while maintaining a fresh and innovative team.
IT-oLogy is changing the future of the workforce not only in South Carolina, but beyond. Change is necessary to take South Carolina to the next level. We’re here to make that change, but we can’t do it alone. We need individuals, businesses, academia and economic development organizations to realize that change needs to start young, and that now is the time to start to make change happen across the board – not just when it comes to information technology.
IT-oLogy is making the change. Are you?