The New Jersey Technology Council (NJTC) is a not-for-profit, trade association which focuses on connecting decision-makers and thought-leaders from technology and technology support companies through access to financing opportunities, networking, and business support. Through its programs, the NJTC provides timely business information to help its members grow and succeed and provides forums for member companies to work together to advance New Jersey’s, and the region’s, status as a leading technology center. At NJTC’s Annual Meeting held in July at The Forsgate Country Club in Monroe, NJ, the NJTC furthered its mission by hosting a series of discussions on topics of import to today’s technology companies. The meeting was abuzz with various conversations and idea exchanges on various topics including the current U.S. patent system, forging partnerships between academic institutions and industry to meet workforce needs, early stage funding, and cloud management/hosting colocation as well as presentations from corporate CEOs regarding the challenges facing their companies.
The Epstein Becker & Green Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) strategic industry group had the privilege of facilitating two roundtable discussions regarding Attracting/Retaining Employees and Managing Workforce Risk in the 21st Century. NJTC members who attended our roundtable discussions raised many important issues challenging technology companies in this regard including: (i) finding and hiring the right people, (ii) providing employees with the right skills to manage others as well as overall professional development, (iii) managing employees working remotely and in other offsite-locations, (iv) developing workplace policies to foster work-life balance, (v) incentivizing employees to join and remain with their companies, and (vi) addressing organizational culture issues. One of our roundtable participants was Arthur O’Brien, upSkill Project Manager at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. As Mr. O’Brien explained, “upSKILL is a grant funded by the US Department of Labor and is designed to offer information technology (IT) and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) training to unemployed professionals and veterans in New Jersey. The purpose of the grant is to enable these U.S. citizens and permanent residents to upgrade their skills so they can successfully compete for jobs currently in high demand in NJ. Classroom and online courses are provided at the six academic partner institutions on the grant: NJIT (the lead partner), Rutgers-Newark and the Community Colleges in Bergen, Essex, Morris and Passaic Counties. The students are able to receive training in web development, mobile apps, big data, project management and Lean Six Sigma. To insure the students are receiving training in areas where NJ companies have skill gaps, the grant management team works closely with the NJ Talent Networks, Workforce Investment Boards and Professional Trade Organizations e.g. the NJ Tech Council and the Commerce and Industry Association of NJ”. The work of Mr. O’Brien, the New Jersey educational institutions and industry organizations provides an example of the important efforts that are underway to forge partnerships between academic institutions and industry to meet workforce needs and prepare the workforce of tomorrow to fill the demand for highly skilled positions.
It is clear that the workplace is changing and attracting and retaining the right workers, with the right skills will be key to growing a TMT company in the future. It will be imperative to design workplace policies as well as compensation and benefits packages that both serve to attract, motivate and retain employees as well as comply with applicable laws. As members of the workforce prepare themselves and retrain for the jobs of the future, employers are in turn called upon to create organizations of excellence to attract and retain these employees, and, foster long term growth of their people and their organizations. Our TMT Group at Epstein Becker Green is well poised to assist employers in developing the necessary workplace policies and programs to serve these needs.
If you are an employer that is interested in hiring skilled IT or STEM professionals, you can contact Arthur O’Brien at AOBRIEN@NJIT.EDU with job descriptions you would like to fill and he can connect you with upSKILL candidates. You can also contact him if you are an IT or STEM professional interested in applying for the program.
For more information regarding The New Jersey Technology Council, visit www.njtc.org.