Economic Development News
Information Technology Roundtable addresses increasing need for IT professionals
Published: Friday, August 15, 2014 11:00 am
By: Shaun Sappenfield
When you hear the phase “Information Technology” (IT) your first thought is perhaps Google, IBM or maybe even Apple Inc. but could you name three information technology companies located in Jefferson City? I would venture to say most local residents are completely unaware of the wide range of IT companies doing business in Jefferson City or businesses with a large IT support operation. Recently, the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce invited representatives from ten local companies who employ multiple IT positions to a roundtable discussion focusing on the attraction and retention of a skilled IT workforce and how to better cultivate home-grown talent.
During the hour-long meeting, most of the discussion centered on the education of middle and high school students and how to better inform them of IT career opportunities at home and abroad. “The number of high school students electing to pursue a career within the information technology sector currently doesn’t fit the future needs of the economy,” said Lucy Watts, VP of Marketing & Sales for RKV Technologies. “As baby boomers begin to leave the workforce and IT needs continue to increase, the need to fill open positions will increase at a rapid pace.” A recent study commissioned by Microsoft, suggested that cloud computing alone will require 2.7 million cloud-related IT Specialists in the U.S. and Canada by 2015.
|IT Roundtable Members:|
IT Roundtable participants discussed various ideas on how to better prepare local students interested in IT careers and educate them on the vast number of employment opportunities right here in our back yard. One existing program, Computer Professionals on Demand (CPoD), sponsored by the Information Technology Coalition, allows high school students to spend four days learning about the information technology field by hands on training sessions within project management, networks and basic concepts on how computers work. Over the past 16 years, more than 320 high school aged students have taken advantage of the CPoD program to jump start their careers in the information technology field.
IT Roundtable participants outlined potential action items geared at engaging and educating local high school students.
- Additional funding for the CPoD program
- Creating a similar CPoD program for middle school students
- Additional internship opportunities
- Annual coding competition
Members of the newly formed IT Roundtable will reconvene in September at the Chamber to discuss potential action items provided at the initial meeting and develop strategies to implement those ideas to better engage young students before they move on to post-secondary educational opportunities.