Area Industry Leaders, White House Business Council, Convene at UMass Boston’s Venture Development Center to Discuss Tech Worker Shortage

In a recent article entitled, “In high-tech, another kind of job crunch,” Boston Globe Staffer Katie Johnston reported the view of many in the area that Massachusetts must do more make the area a more inviting place to put down permanent roots after graduation for students with tech skills. Ms. Johnston writes: Massachusetts has developed a technology labor shortage, one that could undermine a vital sector that helped pull the state from the last recession and is driving its recovery. Demand for high-tech talent is so great that workers are turning down six-figure salaries and companies are offering five-figure cash bounties for successful referrals – a stark contrast to lackluster hiring that has created a large pool of long-term unemployed and kept the state jobless rate at historically high levels.

The story has facts and figures in support of this, and plenty of indications that technology is a field here in Massachusetts that can be the source of a great and rewarding career. You should scan this story if for no other reason than to help weigh the advantages of a technical education and career opportunities in the region. But of interest to me, too, was the fact that the story referenced a recent meeting of technology industry leaders with the White House Business Council at the UMass Boston Venture Development Center (VDC). The White House Business Council, the article notes, was created by President Obama in 2009 and has met with executives in 175 communities around the country this year. The VDC venue for the meeting was chosen because some believe UMass Boston’s approach — of getting talented tech students aligned with leading area companies while still studying can motivate more of these students to remain in the area after competing their studies. What exactly does UMass Boston offer?

There are three very relevant program centers within UMass Boston. These are The Entrepreneurship Center, which manages a skill-based entrepreneurial specialization in the College of Management, the only MBA-level specialization in the region with a required internship course in the core. The Venture Development Center is a start-up incubator housing high tech and life science companies from Boston’s leading universities and industries. In conjunction with the Entrepreneurship Center, the VDC supports paid internships for students at 30 leading venture-backed start-ups inside and outside the incubator. University College houses Boston area Advanced Technological Education Connections (BATEC), a National Science Foundation-funded ATE Regional Center of Excellence in Information Technology that has focused on the knowledge, skills and attributes for IT pathways and intersections and enhanced transferability with community colleges in the region.