Many of us can recall a teacher that impacted our career path through encouragement, recognizing aptitudes and supporting our goals and dreams. Today’s teachers can help their students create more successful career paths due to the vast opportunities available, but keeping up with the current and future opportunities – especially in technology – can be a difficult task.
That’s why Pike Township elementary and secondary educators have teamed up with Bluelock, disaster recovery service provider, and Indianapolis tech leaders to launch Teacher TechConnect, a three-hour event on November 10, 2016 for teachers who want to expand their knowledge of the career potential in the growing field of technology. Teachers can also enroll in a shadow program that will bring teachers in for a day at local tech companies so they get a closer look at what goes on inside those innovative walls.
Indiana workforce experts predict demand for tech employees will continue to exceed supply. The region is projected to add at least 51,500 tech jobs by 2025, but schools are slated to produce only half of the needed credentials and degrees to fill those jobs. At the elementary and secondary school level, technology jobs are currently being created faster than they can be integrated into school curricula. Workforce experts say 65 percent of today’s schoolchildren will be employed in jobs that have yet to be created. Many of these jobs will be in the technology sector.
“Central Indiana is rightly being seen as a tech hub, but we have to act now to ensure Hoosiers will be the ones filling the jobs that come along with this emergence of tech companies,” said former Mayor Greg Ballard, who took part. “The array of jobs is staggering – everything from the technical things like coding and software development to soft skills that focus on sales, project management and communicating with others about what these products and tech advances mean.”
Among the leaders taking part:
- Greg Ballard, former Mayor of Indianapolis and University of Indianapolis Visiting Fellow of the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives
- Dewand Neely, State of Indiana CIO
- Jeff Ton, Bluelock EVP of Product and Service Development
- Rhonda Winter, Bluelock EVP of Cloud Operations and Support
- Sally Reasoner, Central Indiana Workforce Development Initiative VP of Talent Initiatives
- David Walker, Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis director of Infrastructure and Operations
- Robin Fleming, Angie’s List SVP of Technology and Women & Hi-Tech board member
- Joe Hand, Interactive Intelligence senior practice leader of Global Managed Services
- Karen Jung, Nextech President
- Warren Lenard, The Finish Line VP, Technology & Operations Solutions
- Valerie Osinski, Project Lead the Way SVP and CTO
- Laura Dodds, TechPoint Foundation for Youth executive director
“Only by working together can businesses and educators solve the technology talent gap problem,” said Jeff Ton, Bluelock executive vice president of Product and Service Development. “The Teacher TechConnect collaboration breaks down the wall between business and the classroom and creates an ongoing, mutually beneficial conversation to fill the talent pipeline with qualified candidates.”
Ton said it wasn’t difficult for Bluelock to find partners for Teacher TechConnect. Angie’s List, TechPoint Foundation for Youth, Pike High School and others were quick to sign on for the event, as well as assist in execution, as the initiative will subsequently benefit employers throughout the state.
“Collaborations like this are the answer,” said Robin Fleming, SVP of Technology at Angie’s List and Women & Hi-Tech board member. “It’s gratifying to see how much excitement there is on both the educator’s and tech community’s parts to jump in and be true partners at the primary and secondary school levels because this kind of thing just can’t wait for graduation.”