5 things I learned at the NEC Talent Pipeline Event

 |   Aimee Sprung

A few weeks ago I was part of a terrific panel of speakers convened by the New England Council for a Talent Pipeline Forum. Jamie Merisotis of the Lumina Foundation delivered a keynote address highlighting his new book, America Needs Talent.

This is a topic of great interest to me and Microsoft as we are facing a shortage of talent with Computer Science and Programming skills.  According to code.org, in Massachusetts there are currently 21,665 open computing jobs (3.2x the state average demand rate) but only 1,334 computer science graduates.  Through support of Hour of Code, Coder Dojo, TEALS and more, Microsoft is working trying to innovate in this space and think about new ways to encourage students to pursue education and careers in technology.

In our conversation, my fellow panelists made me aware of a few programs that could also help to address this talent shortage.  Here is what I learned from the panel:

  • Jamie Merisotis, Author and CEO of Lumina Foundation
    With falling wages and rising inequality, persistent unemployment, failing schools, and broken cities, have America’s best days come and gone? In America Needs Talent, Jamie Merisotis, a globally recognized leader in philanthropy, higher education, and public policy, explains why talent is needed to usher in a new era of innovation and success, and why deliberate choices must be made by government, the private sector, education, and individuals to grow talent in America.


  • Julian Alssid, Chief Workforce Strategist, College for America at Southern New Hampshire University
    College for America is an accredited, nonprofit college dedicated to making a college degree achievable for every working adult: flexibly scheduled, uniquely applicable, competency-based education for just $2,500 a year (or less).


  • Dr. Carla Brodley, Dean of the College of Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University
    As career goals can shift and interests expand, new opportunities arise, industries change, and technology advances. Whether your undergraduate degree was in the sciences or liberal arts, and whether you’re a recent college graduate or an experienced professional, ALIGN offers you a transition into some of the most dynamic industries across the globe. Our one-of-a-kind ALIGN (Accelerated Link to Industry through Northeastern’s Global Network) master’s degree programs provide you with the knowledge and experience necessary to shift your career into this high-demand field.


  • Cathleen Finn, IBM Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, New England Manager
    Now serving four classes of students, P-TECH continues to chart new territory in the reform of secondary and postsecondary education in the United States. As the first school in the nation that connects high school, college, and the world of work through college and industry partnerships, we are pioneering a new vision for college and career readiness and success. With a unique 9-14 model, the goal for our diverse, unscreened student population is 100% completion of an associate degree within six years.


  • Dr. Karen Wosczyna-Birch, Director of Connecticut Community Colleges’ College of Technology and Executive Director of the Center for Next Generation Manufacturing
    The Center for Next Generation Manufacturing creates a seamless pathway, with no barriers or loss of earned credits, for students transitioning from a two-year college to a four-year program at partnering colleges and universities. The center is directed by the Connecticut College of technology, which itself is an online learning platform serving all 12 of Connecticut’s Community Colleges. The Center identifies skills and practices in the manufacturing sector and ties curriculum directly to the needs of industry in order for students to be prepared to enter the workforce or continue to their education and learn the skills that Connecticut employers value.


In his welcome remarks, Jim Brett of the New England Council also highlighted a recently released report on Advanced Manufacturing and referenced the opportunity for talent in this field as well.

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Aimee Sprung
Aimee Sprung

To keep up with Aimee you need to be up early. Like 5 AM early. Then you have to squeeze in Crossfit, grow STEM education programs, collaborate with community leaders and still keep up with her family - 2 boys require high energy. Or you can hit the snooze and sleep soundly knowing Aimee has that all covered.