Tech Connection hopes to spur local tech growth
Erika Willett Kosina
Special to The Union
Tech companies and their employees are looking beyond the Bay Area to find a location that offers a lower cost of living and a better quality of life. Nevada County offers both, and we are well positioned to join the ranks of towns like Boise, Austin and Eugene as a “next top ten” location for tech jobs. One organization is working hard to put Nevada County on the tech hub map, and strengthen our local economy in the process.
Talent Development, community engagement and advocacy
The Nevada County Tech Connection (NCTC) is in its third year of supporting, connecting, and showcasing the technology ecosystem in Nevada County. It emerged as an offshoot of the Connected Communities Academy, which the Nevada County Economic Resource Council (ERC) initially formed under the leadership of Shavati Karki-Pearl to offer training in digital skills to the community at large.
With grants from the Northern Rural Training and Employment Consortium and funding from the Economic Resource Council, Karki-Pearl launched the Tech Connection in January 2017. Karki-Pearl quickly grew the organization to include the Tech Talent Development Team, which Sierra College dean and council board member Stephanie Ortiz chairs. The Talent Development Team is focused on making sure Nevada County youth and professionals can get the skills they need to work at local tech businesses.
The Tech Connection also assembled two other teams to engage in community development and advocacy for the local tech community. It follows the “next generation sector partnership” model, which means it uses input from industry leaders to create and prioritize action plans, with support from community members. The Economic Resource Council continues to manage and operate the Nevada County Tech Connection.
Training and connecting Tech Talent with employers
Because finding qualified employees is one of the biggest challenges for local tech businesses, last year Nevada County Tech Connection brought together local businesses, educational institutions, and nonprofits in two Tech Talent forums to encourage communication among these stakeholders and ensure a pipeline of qualified local tech talent. In 2018 the Tech Connection also hosted another 100 events for local tech professionals to connect and learn, and supported and promoted similar events in eastern Nevada County.
Working together to thrive
This year Nevada County Tech Connection is expanding its scope to include manufacturing businesses because so many of them rely on technology and employees with digital skills. By working together and truly listening to each other, the Tech Connection hopes to create a connected, thriving community of tech professionals and businesses that can’t help but attract more of the same.
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