A couple weeks ago, Nashville’s tech world garnered national attention when Fast Company published an article about Middle Tennessee’s quest to fill its roughly 1,000 available high-tech jobs.
The article’s headline, “Why Nashville Companies Are Targeting Tweens For High-Tech Jobs,” leads you to believe Nashville’s employing some pretty kooky tactics to attract tech talent, but the headline only tells a fraction of the story.
The bulk of the article talks about the Nashville Technology Council’s Nashville is Hiring initiative, which is described as “a massive recruiting campaign that uses strategies both conventional (partnering with community colleges) and decidedly unconventional (going after middle school kids) in hopes of filling those jobs and starting a larger conversation around how to make Nashville a great place for tech workers.”
Nashville is a great place for tech workers. From its plethora of tech needs stemming from the dominant health care industry, to its wealth of tech entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses like Concept Technology, Nashville’s tech economy is truly booming.
So why the lack of talent? One reason the article latches onto is that while Nashville may attract families and more established workers, it is less popular with recent graduates and young professionals because the open tech positions offer more traditional work environments than the young workers require.
I’m not sure I agree with that assessment. It may be true that the local tech giants like Microsoft, Dell and HP offer traditional cubicle environments, but many of the smaller companies that I’ve come across offer flexible schedules and unique corporate cultures that are the hallmarks of a nontraditional work environment.
For example, creating a desirable workplace was the primary driver behind starting Concept
Technology — I wanted to create a company where I wanted to be everyday, and it’s something that we still think about 10 years later.
At Concept Technology, we have a beer together on Fridays; field a company bowling team and rock band; share a catered meal about once a week; and occasionally go on trips together, like when we went to Vegas last year to celebrate being inducted into the Nashville Chamber’s Future 50 Hall of Fame. Most importantly we keep work within working hours fun.
The rest of the Fast Company article discussed the Tech Council’s other initiatives that include:
- Partnering with local community colleges to find funding sources for specific IT certification programs.
- Working with area universities to tailor technology classes to fit local employers’ needs.
- And the article’s namesake, increasing the number of junior high students who enroll in IT education tracks.
Whatever the tactic, highlighting Nashville’s tech community on a national stage is always a good thing. You too can check out the write-up here.