WINDSOR, ON (July 23, 2019) – The digital economy is ripe for bold initiatives that connect talent with tech companies. Given the Windsor-Essex region’s proximity to the U.S. border, it’s clear that this area has unique opportunities and advantages to generate a robust workforce. In order to determine how best to prepare our students and professionals for tech-sector employment, WEtech Alliance, with the generous support of Workforce WindsorEssex, has launched the Tech Connect initiative to better connect employers, prospective employees, students and professionals in the tech sector to the programs, initiatives and events that already exist in the tech ecosystem.
As part of this effort, Tech Connect will conduct a pulse check through surveys, focus groups and outreach to gauge which programs, initiatives and events delivered by the tech ecosystem are hitting the mark with the tech community and where there are gaps. Our goal is to ensure accessibility and inclusion for a broad range of stakeholders.
“We hear especially from talented young professionals and students that there is an information barrier to accessing existing resources and programming in the tech ecosystem, ” says Yvonne Pilon, President and CEO of WEtech Alliance. “At the same time, we want to check our blindspots to see what additional programs should we be delivering and whether we are reaching as diverse a community as possible.”
Tech Connect is made possible through a generous grant from Workforce WindsorEssex and its Community Labour Market Research and Innovation Project (CLMRIP), which is focused on identifying solutions to existing skills mismatches and barriers to new work employment and training opportunities, while at the same time supporting innovative research on a growing sector in Windsor-Essex.
In this case, WEtech Alliance was selected to shine a spotlight on the growing tech sector.
“Tech is not only a growing sector in our region, it also underpins the day-to-day operations of almost every employer in our region,” says Michelle Suchiu, Executive Director of Workforce WindsorEssex. “This initiative will help our community understand where the opportunities are to grow stronger linkages between stakeholders in this sector.”
Tech Connect will run for six months until the end of 2019 and will be led by WEtech Alliance’s new Tech Talent Strategist, Dr. Victoria Abboud, who recently moved back to Windsor-Essex after holding the position of Program Manager, Senior Leadership Training at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. She is an educator who also has extensive experience designing programs related to the “future of work” that, most recently, reached 450 senior leaders in education, government and the private sector.
“One of the key elements of this project is to create an accessible Tech Connect Homepage that highlights every tech-related program, initiative and event that is happening in our community,” says Dr. Abboud. “We want to ensure that opportunities for learning and for potential employment are top-of-mind in our community. Another significant part of the Tech Connect project is to conduct research throughout the community to find out what program gaps need filling. It will be a step further from the Workforce WindsorEssex report, Decoding the ICT Workforce (July 2018). We’re looking forward to hearing from employers, job-seekers, students, and members of the education and business communities to round out our study.”
Any organizations and companies organizing any tech-related events and programs or serving clients who are interested in training, employment and networking opportunities in the tech sector are encouraged to contact Dr. Abboud to exchange program information and perspectives about connecting talent to the tech community in our region.
WEtech Alliance would like to acknowledge the following organizations for their support of the Tech Connect proposal: WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, Canadian Undergraduate Computer Science Conference, New Canadians Centre of Excellence Inc., Build A Dream, Women’s Enterprise Skills Training of Windsor Inc., AlphaKOR Group, Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario, Talent X, and Zekelman School of Business and IT.