“We have students from a diverse array of background, age, race, and gender participating in our boot camps,” Patti O’Brien, Director of Marketing at MCOR said. “Technology careers are starting to attract a more diverse group of professionals."
The diverse group of students enrolled at MCOR is part of a new trend in the technology field that has a history of being occupied predominantly by white males, O’Brien said.
"We're enrolling students who are older and have found the need to update or re-tool their skill and knowledge base to stay competitive in today's workforce. We're also enrolling the younger generation who understands the value in our competency-based boot camp that will quickly train them for local open jobs," O’Brien said.
MCOR’s goal is to narrow the skills gap in the technology sector by introducing the recent diverse group of graduates to five local employers at a Web Developer Career Panel and interview event.
The event was hosted at the Center for Entrepreneurial Innovation (CEI), a branch of MCOR, on Sept. 30 in Phoenix, Ariz.
Representatives from Phoenix-based technology companies Axosoft and meltmedia, government entities Arizona State Department of Administration and Paradise Valley Community College, and State Farm participated in a panel discussion and interviewed students.
“These same five companies are all joining the mission to fill the skills gap with a diverse group of new tech-skilled workers,” O’Brien said.
In an effort to prepare the new boot camp graduates for upcoming job openings, representatives from each company offered them career advice and mock interviews.
Yet many of the panel participants treated the interviewing portion as an opportunity to find qualified applicants for current job openings within their company.
Web Developer Boot Camp panelist and Arizona State Department of Administration representative Katie Matysik recruits IT professionals for 130 state agencies, boards, and commissions.
“I think it is a good way to meet folks that are interested in these roles and want to learn more about the opportunities that are out there,” Matysik said. “At the same time it is a great way for me to show why we would be the employer of choice for them when they are ready to take on this new career change.”
Matysik said she attends boot camps like MCOR’s to address the critical shortage of skilled technology professionals throughout the state.
“With so many job boards and applicant tracking systems, folks often feel like they are just sending resumes into a black hole,” Matysik said. “I am always looking for ways to meet with folks on a personal level and give them a contact person on the inside.”
Jason Johnson, Data Specialist at State Farm attended the Boot Camp as a professional panelist in hopes of finding qualified applicants.
“State Farm believes in assisting programs to empower communities by providing them with the resources and education that they need,” Johnson said.
Matthew Rausch, director of human resources at meltmedia said his company is always looking for a way to enhance the technology community both outside and within the company itself.
“We are committed to our community, and to helping develop folks in our industry into mature professionals who are skilled enough to work at the top tech companies in the country,” Rausch said.