Today I read an article in Fast Company about eBay’s strategy for attracting the best talent in the tech industry. They hire the people already working at the companies they acquire. Those people have the skills, the experience and the expertise in their respective niche, and the incentive to see it through to the next level.
That strategy is not sustainable or reasonable for most businesses.
I spent the afternoon yesterday talking to educators, students and local lawmakers about working together to nurture our community’s future leaders and top talent. We (and yes, I mean all of us) have a responsibility to support education in our community, and encourage our best and brightest to pursue education in highly-sought-after disciplines, like engineering and computer science. Anyone who knows me knows that I am passionate about programs that foster science, technology, engineering and math (or STEM) focused learning and career plans. That’s where the jobs are now, and where they’ll continue to be in years to come. I conveyed that to lawmakers and the business community in Concord yesterday, and hope it will inspire others to support our tech future.
“Support” doesn’t necessarily mean funding. It means volunteering at local programs designed to get students of all ages psyched about science, like the SEE Science Center, the US FIRST robotics program and FIRST LEGO League. It means creating internships at your businesses so students and new graduates can get work experience and learn at a young age about the myriad options out there in these fields. It means creating a learning and working community here that’s more appealing than one elsewhere.
The team at SilverTech works closely with educational programs on multiple levels, and especially with UNH Manchester. We’re a 15 minute walk to the city’s historic Millyard district (or a five-minute Segway ride – that’s where they were invented, after all) that has transformed into one of the region’s most exciting tech centers. Our friends at DEKA, Sitecore, Dyn, and others are all within walking distance, and all spend lots of time helping to create programs that will nurture the careers of people we hope will become our future workforce and leaders. And so far the plan is working. But we – and the other like-minded businesses and organizations that are committed to this effort – can’t do it alone.
As a system, we can do a better job of attracting and keeping skilled students and graduates in New Hampshire. We can encourage young people to pursue tech-focused careers. We can help make education less of a financial burden for students, and give them confidence that the technology-focused jobs will be waiting for them when they graduate. We can mentor and inspire.
I told the group yesterday that SilverTech must sometimes recruit from out of state to fill our open software engineering and development positions. That’s a challenge, and one that will only become more severe if we don’t nurture and retain the best and brightest. The need for technically literate employees is only going to increase as job requirements across all industries become more sophisticated. It’s a large (though fun and exciting) undertaking to make sure the future technology leaders want to work and live in our state. And it’s one we aren’t planning on backing away from any time soon.
So pass this message along, and if you’re a business able to get involved with this important effort, please reach out. If you know a student with even the slightest interest in a STEM career, help them along. And if you’re a parent looking for resources to inspire your young kids to innovate, please give us a call at SilverTech, or connect with me personally on Twitter @nicknh.