Human Capital – A Paradigm Shift

IToLogy and Business Innovation Growth Council recently presented “Human Capital – A Paradigm Shift in Attraction and Retention” event in Charlotte, North Carolina. The informative program addressed the importance of innovation, businesses engaging with educational institutions, identifying and attracting early talent, and attracting and retaining top talent.

Keynote Clifton Vann, President of Livingston & Haven, led his address with ‘the #1 asset in business is employees. Today, there are 300 Million unfilled jobs in US. ….  NC has moved from #4 in 2001 to #31 in per capita production of STEM graduates.’ There are likely to be 150,000 computing jobs opening each year through 2020yet it is estimated that fewer than 40,000 students receiving bachelor’s degrees in IT annually. The highest job growth will be in jobs that require a two year degree or more and the highest earners are those with the greatest education.

What can we do to grow and develop a regional educated IT talent pool? Everyone must participate in education. Think about education as a supply chain issue – getting the right person in the right job at the right time. It’s through community efforts that we can bring it together.
Education should align with workforce needs and innovation must be the underpinning of education.  Innovation drives success and drives profit margin.  Innovation driven companies create better paying jobs. Start thinking about how you can get involved in innovation and education.

With companies facing as much as 90% of the current workforce eligible for retirement in 10 years or less, businesses are more focused on identifying and acquiring early talent. As a result, more companies are opening their doors to more experiential learning opportunities… growing their own talent pipeline through interns, co-ops, and apprentices.

The early talent panel discussed their internship programs and shared lessons learned. Enterprise organizations, TIAA-CREF and Wells Fargo, offer established year round internship programs, identifying talent through national campus recruiting efforts focusing on schools with strong programs related to their business and some targeting schools geographically co-located with the business.  Working with campus organizations, developing relationships with deans and professors proved helpful.

High growth organizations offered more flexibility, engaging interns earlier in the education cycle; identifying talent regardless of the education level with the best work product as the objective. Steve Amedio, President, Technekes, has been engaging interns over the last few years, identifying both high school and college interns through networking channels. Meg Sadak, AvidXchange Talent Manager, launched their first intern program this past summer partnering with IT-ology rather than recruiting directly. AvidXchange invested their campus recruiting budget with IT-oLogy who offers a reach to over 200 universities and colleges and database access to candidates. It proved to be the most cost effective model. The intern project code was put into production and one of the intern was hired as a full time employee. Meg said the program was a success.

When launching an intern program, our panelists advise to carefully define the ultimate goal of the program. Be specific about the goals for the interns.  Look for students who can fulfill your goals. Broaden your horizon on the students you are looking for not just those already interested in your discipline. Engage an intern leader, intern mentor and hiring manager with each intern.  Make sure administration is addressed on day 1 for a fast start. Choose someone as a social peer to be mentor to create better relationships.  For smaller organizations, consider hiring an outside person specifically to manage the interns to create focus. A dedicated person proved to be the key to success.
Charlotte’s success will take the work of a collaborative ecosystem – business, economic development, academia, and media, starting early and nurturing and supporting growth of the future work force. Collaboration leads to economic advantage locally.  It takes your involvement!  Together, we can make a difference.

For information about the IT Gateway and Campus Liaison programs, contact [email protected].

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