Information Technology Career Pathway

IT

Making Greater Cincinnati the IT Leader

The Cincinnati region is home to a disproportionately high number of Fortune 1000 “flagship” companies including Procter & Gamble, General Electric, Kroger, Citi, Macy’s, Great American, Western Southern, Luxottica, and Cintas.

The Information Technology leaders from these companies work together in a collaborative manner to achieve shared objectives such as developing the IT Talent Pipeline. Partners for Competitive Workforce (PCW) has fully leveraged the cohesiveness and critical mass of these core IT employers by formally partnering with the CIO Roundtable (25 CIO’s responsible for more than 6,000 local IT jobs) and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber to engage the broader IT hiring community (tech companies, IT service providers, startups) to create scalable programs to address the hiring needs of these IT employers. The overall strategy for growing the IT Talent Pipeline is multi-fold:

  • LONG-TERM – Grow the mainstream IT pipeline (college graduates with relevant majors) through marketing to high school students to dramatically increase the number of students in IT-related majors in college and 2-year schools.
  • SHORT-TERM – Develop non-traditional sources of IT talent that can productively enter/re-enter the IT workforce now.

CURRENT ENVIRONMENT 

Like virtually every other U.S. job market, the Cincinnati region has a marked shortage of skilled IT workers to fill the current demand (over 1,000 open IT positions) as well as the projected growth of IT jobs. The open positions span the gamut of technology (infrastructure, network, application development), level (entry-level to mid-level), specialties (data scientists, mobile developers), and sectors (financial services, healthcare, retailing, technology). A strong collaborative effort has bloomed in Greater Cincinnati to grow the number of startup companies, and virtually all of these companies are in need of tech talent as well.

CURRENT APPROACH/PROGRAMS

While most U.S. markets face a similar challenge to grow tech talent, the level of collaboration in the Cincinnati region provides a reason to be optimistic, especially for the long-term growth of the IT Talent Pipeline. Two specific examples where this collaboration is making a difference:

1) INTERalliance – The INTERalliance is a unique and powerful collaborative of the region’s employers, universities, and high schools to proactively recruit high school students into the IT field. More than 1,000 high school students are impacted each year through workshops, camps and internships. The results to date are very positive:

  • Over 80% of INTERalliance students enroll in STEM-related majors and nearly half specifically enroll in an IT-related major.
  • Of the former students now in the workforce, nearly 40% landed IT-related jobs and over 60% a STEM-related job.

2) Higher Ed Collaborative – PCW worked with the deans/department heads of all the IT-related majors of the region’s universities to form the Higher Ed Collaborative. This group is working together on a single/shared holistic marketing program directed at 16-20 year olds. 

These examples demonstrate the level of commitment to grow the long-term IT Talent Pipeline. PCW is currently collaborating with Creating IT Futures Foundation on a national, ready-to-work grant that will support the integration and expansion of the above two programs in the Cincinnati market.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The overarching, long-term objective of the collaboration between PCW, the CIO Roundtable, and REDI (Regional Economic Development Initiative) is to grow the “IT Economy” in our region. While the initial focus has rightfully been to establish/grow a robust, sustainable talent pipeline, complementary economic development efforts have been focused on attracting IT/technology companies to relocate/expand to the region.

For more information, contact Geoff Smith, Director, IT Career Pathways, Partners for a Competitive Workforce.

IT Inset:

Vision: Establish the Greater Cincinnati Region as a model of cooperation between business and educators — working together to Identify, Nurture, Train, Employ, and Retain the area’s best IT talent.

Mission: To grow a renowned, thriving and sustainable pool of IT talent in the Greater Cincinnati Region that not only fulfills local demand, but also is strong enough to actually attract new employers to the area.