And today, with so many new tech companies, the city is like most other cities across the nation in that it has experienced a shortage of local skilled workers to fill its tech jobs.
Rather than leave companies with no choice but to search outside the United States for skilled labor, city officials like Chamber of Commerce President Glenn West have insisted that the key to a promising economic future is to train and educate our citizens and youth for the jobs of the future. In Texas, the under-18 population grew 17% from 2000 to 2010 (that’s 6.5 times the national rate), and its workforce is expected to grow faster than the rest of the country between 2011 and 2014. Educational programs and job training are critical to turning this growth into an asset. Austin high schools have adjusted their curriculum and implemented courses aimed at engaging students in tech courses and producing graduates who are confident in math and science. And that’s an important start.
In the meantime, staffing firms like TRC Professional Solutions in Austin help locate and place hard-to-find skill sets for companies. A great staffing firm can help ease the pain of a talent gap by doing the legwork of locating and recruiting highly skilled professionals by placing them in the jobs they want, for the pay they deserve – resulting in a win-win for companies and professionals alike.
And in the long term, communication and collaboration between employers, communities, teachers, and youth will be crucial to closing the skills gap and setting our nation up for economic success in the coming years.