Hiring professionals, trainers gather to discuss innovative ways to narrow the high-tech skills gap

Contacts: Alan Fogg, afogg@fceda.org, 703-790-0600 (o) or 571-213-5065 (m)

FCEDA hosts event for more than 60 attendees at CIT in Herndon

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fairfax County, Virginia – The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA) yesterday presented “Innovative Pipelines for Tech Recruiting,” a seminar for training, recruitment and human resource professionals concerned with filling the need for highly skilled workers in the technology workforce.

The event, held at the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon, featured representatives from nine innovative workforce programs in the Washington, D.C., area.

“We have so many qualified employees, locally, who can’t find positions and so many companies that tell us that they can’t find the right talent,” said Catherine Riley, FCEDA vice president for marketing. “We are in a unique position to help them find each other and leverage all of the assets that are here in our community. At this event, we have examples of all the amazing partners that can make connections happen.”

The Northern Virginia Technology Council, NVTC’s Veterans Employment Initiative and the Tysons Corner-based SkillSource Group sponsored the event.

Photos of this event are available to the media upon request.

“Our research shows that 70 percent of tech industry leaders, especially those at larger companies, expect to hire more employees in the coming years,” said Jennifer Taylor, vice president, U.S. Jobs, Consumer Technology Association. “Events like this can help our more than 2,200 member companies learn about new educational pathways they can use to identify, train and hire the talented, high-skilled workers they need.”

Each of the nine training organization representatives shared information about their unique programs designed to make tech recruiting and retention easier in a time when the availability of skilled employees can impact basic and crucial business decisions.

“An event like this is important for bridging the skills gap because it showcases how many different programs are out there and the diversity of the workforce that companies can tap into,” said Joe Vacca, chief marketing officer and head of strategy and innovation for Revature, a talent development company based in Reston. “Often we forget how many opportunities there are to find really exceptional talent and how important all of these programs can be to allow us to connect with that talent.”

Three presenters – Steve Jordon, director of NVTC’s Veterans Employment Initiative, Crystal Cochran, senior manager, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Hiring Our Heroes Corporate Fellowship Program, and John Tansill, head of veteran initiatives for FDM Group of Reston – discussed maximizing the unique skills of military veterans in the workforce.

Other presenters, including Andrea Garcia-Fernandez of nonprofit Year Up and Peyton Brooks, director of business solutions at Per Scholas, National Capital Region, focused on initiatives designed to incorporate the skills of talented youth from underserved communities into the workforce.

“One way for companies to attract a qualified, skilled worker is to offer flexibility,” said Ellen Grealish, partner and co-founder of FlexProfessionals. Her Fairfax County-based company specializes in part-time and project-based placements, often working with women returning to the workforce.

She was followed to the stage by Brian Wright, director of operations for the George Washington University Data Science Program and Jason Green, co-founder of SkillSmart, a workforce development organization. They noted that the value of an employee can often be derived from real-world skills and experiences as well as the credentials on a resume.

In addition to the nine speakers, Hector Velez, chairman of the board of the SkillSource Group, moderated a panel of six employees who successfully completed programs associated with the day’s presenters.

Time magazine called Fairfax County “one of the great economic success stories of our time.” Business growth and innovation helps Fairfax County fund the nation’s top-rated school system and other public services that contribute to the quality of life of residents. Fairfax County offers businesses a state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure, access to global markets through Washington Dulles International Airport, a vibrant investment capital community and a highly skilled, well-educated workforce.

The award-winning Fairfax County Economic Development Authority promotes Fairfax County as a business and technology center. The FCEDA offers site location and business development assistance, and connections with county and state government agencies, to help companies locate and expand in Fairfax County. In addition to its headquarters in Tysons Corner, Fairfax County’s largest business district, the FCEDA maintains marketing offices in six important global business centers: Bangalore, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Seoul and Tel Aviv. Follow the FCEDA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.