Speaker Forum Addresses Tech Skills Gap


dsc_0015How can we solve the emerging technology skills gap? On August 18, Austin Free-Net hosted a lighting talk panel discussion with a diverse cross section of community leaders to address Austin’s technology skills gap.  The well attended event gave a snap shot of possible solutions from the small business, education and corporate sectors.

The panelists included: Juanita Budd, Executive Director, Austin Free-Net, Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President and Chief Executive Officer, Huston-Tillotson University, Parisa Fatehi-Weeks, Head of Community Impact Programs & Investments, Google Fiber Austin, Preston L. James, II, Co-Founder/CEO of DivInc, Belinda Matingou, Regional Executive Director for the State Chamber of Commerce for Texas, Beth Tracy, Manager Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, IBM.  The panel was moderated by Hugh Forrest, Director, South by Southwest Interactive Festival. View the event photos!

Omar Gallega, technology reporter for the Austin American-Statesman covered the event and posted a follow-up story on www.512Tech.com.

“We are excited about the opportunity to be a part of the conversation to help develop solutions for the tech skills gap,” said Juanita Budd, AFN Executive Director.  “Our clients want better paying jobs and we want to be the conduit to help them. We just launched our Techno-Women program which provides IT network certification training to low income women.  At Austin Free-Net we are committed to not only help people achieve basic computer literacy skills, but also equip people with the technology skills to attain competitive livable wages.  However, it takes continued support from the community”

We want to again thank our event sponsor Kelso Consultants and Google Fiber for providing the high tech meeting space.

Our next speaker forum will be about the work of closing the skills gap. What are you willing to do to solve the technology skills gap problem?  Are you willing to create a pipeline of services that take people from basic skills to technical certifications? Will your company provide internships/ apprenticeships? Are you willing to invest financially to support a program that works to elevate the community? We want to create a team of committed partners who share resources, leverage opportunities, and engage the corporate community to think differently about resources, talents and skills.

Look for information about our next community forum on our events page.