In a tight job market, businesses need access to a strong talent pool. Community colleges provide those students but need support from industry to make sure the curriculum gives students the skills they need to succeed on the job.
Deputy Sector Navigators in the North/Far North Region realized this need and adopted the Next Generation Sector Partnerships model of building relationships between industry and education. One example of this is growTECH, an organization that connects businesses in the Chico area with colleges and students in the area.
The partnership began in January 2017 through Chicostart, a tech startup incubator in Chico. GrowTECH now serves as a single point of contact for the region’s tech community. It holds regular events and supports efforts to recruit more women and underrepresented groups into the technology field.
“We use this voice to lobby our needs into education, infrastructure, government, as well as economic and workforce development organizations,” said Wendy Porter, ICT-DM Deputy Sector Navigator in the North/Far North Region.
The organization also serves as a meeting place for the region’s tech ecosystem. It holds quarterly mixers and speaker events that bring together employers, employees and other supporting partners to network and share ideas.
CEOs and CTOs from local technology companies meet quarterly to assess growTECH’s work and set goals for business and education task forces.
In 2019, Porter hopes to expand the growTECH model while securing the organization’s place within the business and educational communities in Northern California.
“In 2019, we look forward to sharing our success with other communities in Northern California,” Porter said. “Assisting on advisory boards, providing input into curriculum, badge and certificate opportunities, internships, and providing feedback and clarity to labor market data are a few ways we can get started.”