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June 2014
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TD Magazine

Train Local, Hire Local

One organization shows how a nationwide problem can be addressed through a local solution.

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Intelligence6
The needle on the unemployment rate in the United States is inching in the right direction, but a nationwide technical skills gap still has employers worried about where they will find the talent to support their growing businesses.

Academicians and business leaders are calling for collaboration between business, education, and government to fix the problem, and some of the best solutions so far have been at local levels. The Tampa Bay Technology Forum's Grow Tampa Bay Tech initiative is one success story.

In Tampa Bay, Florida, there are approximately 4,000 open IT jobs due to the lack of skilled workers to fill them. This number is expected to double by 2019. The Tampa Bay Technology Forum, which is dedicated to expanding the area's tech community, recently conducted research on the concerns and needs of local IT business owners.

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The report found that an immediate gap exists for professionals skilled in applications such as Java, SharePoint, Agile, CRM, and other cloud-based programs. It also found that small to midsized companies specifically face challenges hiring entry-level candidates with a proper foundation of technical skills.

Grow Tampa Bay Tech addresses these needs by partnering companies with educational institutions that teach the technical skill sets companies need now and in the future. The initiative offers internship opportunities with local businesses, technical training programs, and practice labs that integrate educational programs with business environments. These efforts will build students' technical skills before they enter the job market, and also will help current IT professionals stay up-to-date in their field.

About the Author

Serena Holloman is associate editor for ATD Press.

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