Connecting the Tech, Design & Entrepreneur Community

TechHire Summit, 12/21

I (Keith) was fortunate to be able to attend the TechHire Summit (“Building the Tech Workforce of Tomorrow”) on December 21st. Being invited is an example of one of the benefits of being part of the national TechHire network: you get to go to events like this to get updates on TechHire, meet other community leaders, and learn about innovative local and national programs.

The morning part of the Summit was at the White House (at the building next door, actually), with lunch and afternoon small-group sessions at a distillery.

One highlight for me in the morning was when Megan Smith, the US CTO, talked about the importance of connecting the meetup and other grassroots organizers who “hide in plain sight.” That is one of the foundations of our TechHire Toledo efforts. Megan also talked about art & tech & user experience.

A common question about TechHire was how the initiative will work after the change in administrations. The Obama administration was a big promoter of TechHire: Opportunity@Work has funding to continue as the “mother ship.” TechHire is about the network of communities who are innovating to address tech talent needs, and that won’t stop. “It’s a movement.” An example of the ongoing commitment: the 100k tech jobs by 2020 campaign was kicked off during the Summit.

New in 2017 will be a TechUp “roadshow” across the country. Exact stops are TBD: I am not sure Toledo will be one yet (we will try), but Detroit and/or other places in Ohio certainly will be.

The event was structured like an “unconference” which was a good way to meet people and talk about issues in small groups. That will be a big help as we evolve TechHire in Toledo so that we can contact people, get advice, ask for help, or just bounce some of our ideas off of other leaders.

It was nice to be able to meet other TechHire community leaders in person. I spent the most time with Geoff Smith from Partners for a Competitive Workforce in the Cincinnati area. We had emailed but never met. I have already had some email exchanges with Michelle Collins from ConxusNEO (Akron) since we got back. Maybe the 3 Ohio TechHire communities can work together to have a greater impact at the state level.

It was also interesting to talk to people who are doing innovative bootcamps, diversity programs, and more, in various locations around the country. My favorites were Interface School in Omaha (NE) and theCO in Jackson (TN). Nearby: Detroit Labs, JOURNi, We Can Code IT.

Finally, there were lots of people from various national efforts and companies who are involved in addressing tech talent pipeline challenges. Leaders from Girl Develop It, General Assembly, #YesWeCode, and Coding Dojo attended, just as a sample. There was a big focus on diversity: “diversity leaders” from companies like Disney, Google, Capital One, Groupon, Ericsson, and Twitter attended.

The day in DC was a great way to help us kick off our Toledo TechHire efforts!