A national summit in Washington, D.C., and outreach efforts in schools across the country will highlight the second annual Techies Day next monthan event devoted to promoting long-term solutions to the nation’s demand for qualified technology workers.
The Workforce Development Summit promises to bring together high-level company executives, education leaders, and government officials to discuss work force development issues and determine plans for action. The summit will meet Oct. 3, the date of this year’s Techies Day event.
Participants in the summit “are going to spend a daythrough panel discussions and break-out sessionsto find out how to get education and industry more in sync with each other’s needs,” said Techies Day spokesman Chris Carpenter.
One of the more prominent ways that Techies Day addresses the shortage of high-tech workers is by bringing awareness of technology careers and readiness into K-12 classrooms, Carpenter said.
The discussion at the summit will focus on issues such as teacher training, bridging the digital divide, integrating technology into the K-12 curriculum, and preparing students for high-tech jobs. In addition to generating interest in developing a technology-skilled work force, the summit will look at which programs are working and develop ideas for others.
“It’s about getting businesses involved,” Carpenter said of the event. “Often, businesses sit way up there on top of a foundation and just give out money. We want them to be more involved.”
Michael Fleischer, chief executive officer of market research firm Gartner Group Inc.; Shelby Bonnie, CEO of online technology news source CNET.com; and Dan Frawley, president and CEO of online technology recruitment company techies.com, are some of the people who will be sitting at the table, Carpenter said. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Department of Education, and Chamber of Commerce also will participate.
“Across the country, there are going to be local technology volunteer activities going on,” Carpenter said. “We are hoping to build up year-round volunteering by spotlighting those activities on one day.”
Some schools will set up panel discussions with technology professionals so students can ask them questions, he said. Others will get technology experts to hold workshops in which students can take part in hands-on activities, such as disassembling and rebuilding an old PC to learn how it works.
The purpose of the volunteer activities is twofold: to give kids more exposure to technology and to show technology professionals how fulfilling and easy it can be to volunteer.
“Getting involved and taking the first step is really the trick for getting people [to volunteer] in technology,” Carpenter said.
Ninety-five percent of volunteer efforts happening in conjunction with Techies Day are actually a result of Tech Corps, a separate nonprofit group that matches high-tech volunteers who want to lead technology career programs with K-12 schools seeking such volunteers, he said.
The organizers of Techies Day also will hold contests to recognize individuals who have excelled at promoting careers in technology.
This year, five volunteer professionals will be named as the TechiesTeam 2000, a virtual “all-star” team of techies from across the nation who have done an outstanding job at promoting technology careers among youth.
The Techies Day organizers also will recognize a team of high school students who have made significant technological advancements as Techies of Tomorrow.
Techies Day was founded last year by CNET and techies.com. This year’s celebration will be sponsored by Tech Corps, Compaq Computer Corp., Girl Geeks, Gartner Group, America Online, and Microsoft Corp., among others.
Gartner Group Inc.