Wendy Porter is new to the world of higher education but brings decades of experience in business and technology to her role as ICT-DM Deputy Sector Navigator in the North/Far North Region.
Porter is the Managing Director of the startup incubator Chicostart and facilitator of growTECH, a technology industry partnerships in Northern California. Chicostart has launched 14 startups over the past four years and created more than 100 jobs in the process.
Porter graduated from CSU Chico and began her IT career at Hewlett-Packard, where she created processes to manage the software development lifecycle, built a web development business, and implemented change management. She transitioned into the entrepreneurial space after moving back to Chico to raise a family.
She sees higher education as a natural extension of the experience she has built thus far and hopes she can help align the programs offered at community colleges with the needs she sees in the industry.
“I have witnessed through my participation in growTECH that the requirements for tech jobs are not aligned with education being offered at K-12, community college, and universities especially when it comes to our local needs,” she said. “There are new opportunities for an emerging tech workforce that don’t require a four-year university degree.”
Specifically, Porter plans to focus on cybersecurity and virtual labs as a way to further the Doing What MATTERS program. She plans to maintain an active role in growTECH and leverage her existing connections in the technology community to foster collaborations between industry and education.
“I hope to educate and promote the value of these projects in aligning industry needs with education to get more students into the workforce,” she said. “Because the DSN role is regional, and the growTECH partnership has been a proven success we will be able to rally the tech industry in all of our regions to ensure tech education at our community colleges is lifted to match emerging tech jobs in Northern California.”
Beyond assisting the North/Far North region, Porter also hopes to increase collaboration among ICT-DM DSNs throughout the state and work with those colleagues to develop metrics to measure student success throughout the state.
“Redundant and duplicate work, as well as exclusivity, are my pet peeves,” Porter said. “I believe we can work more effectively and smartly through inclusivity and collaboration. I also know we have a chance to impact the success of our underserved populations especially in rural locations.”