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Academia and Industry Converge to Strengthen Florida’s High Tech Talent Pipeline

Unique Event Connects Student Adviser from Across the Nation with Career Options in the 23-County Florida High Tech Corridor Region and Beyond

Anticipating the influx of thousands of students entering the nation’s job market this May, the Florida High Tech Corridor (The Corridor) brought together university career center directors and technology industry professionals to foster relationships for the ongoing exchange of job leads and talent referrals at its fifth Talent Forum, held March 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency Orlando in Orlando, Florida.

Removing geographical and financial barriers to recruitment of the nation’s best and brightest STEM graduates, the event makes it easier for companies in the 23-county Corridor region to fulfill their needs for capable, experienced workers. The Corridor’s Talent Forum creates an in-road for students from the nation’s top academic institutions who may not otherwise be aware of their career options in Florida.

CompTIA’s Cyberstates 2018 report shows a 64.5 percent increase from 2016 to 2017 in the number of Florida job postings related to emerging technologies, which underlines the need for conferences like Talent Forum to satisfy the state’s demand for technology jobs. In The Corridor region alone, more than 1,000 technology establishments opened their doors in the last year and will be looking for talent as they continue expanding.

“As the number of high tech companies in state continues to grow, so does the need for talent,” said Ed Schons, president of The Corridor. “Talent Forum fulfills this need by complementing the coveted talent pool graduating from our region’s three research universities – University of Central Florida, University of South Florida and University of Florida – with additional talent from prestigious degree programs specific to the high tech needs of our region.”

More than 50 hiring organizations were represented at this year’s Talent Forum, including accesso, Embraer, OneWeb Satellites, the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy, as well as several Fortune 500 companies: Electronic Arts, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Duke Energy. Representatives from The Corridor’s K-12 school systems were also in attendance, looking to hire educators of the next-generation workforce.

Recruiters were joined by representatives from more than 50 universities and colleges including Harvard University, University of Chicago, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and others from atop U.S. News & World Report’s “2018 Best National Colleges” list. They were also joined by professionals from The Corridor’s three university partners: the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida and the University of Florida.

Company representatives’ feedback:

  • “As the premier technology solutions provider to entertainment and hospitality markets, and as a company that is growing its presence in the heart of that market in Central Florida, the staffing needs at Accesso are unique,” said Trinh Force, recruiting manager at accesso. “The Corridor Talent Forum not only helps the region expand its talent pool, but also is an opportunity for companies like ours to build strong recruiting connections and strategies with top universities around the country.”
  • “Attending Talent Forum is a no-brainer,” said Kersten Metz, campus and military talent acquisition leader for Duke Energy. “It’s simple, it’s organized, it’s structured and you get to meet a ton of career service professionals in a short period of time. This event is so unique and fits all the needs of my business.”
  • “We signed up to attend the Talent Forum this year in order to improve our relationships with institutions of higher learning and increase the workforce talent flow to our companies,” said John Ray, president of the Florida Medical Manufacturers Consortium. “We have many companies around the state who are in need of talent and recruit a very specific type of workforce skill set, and this particular event provides a very unique platform to develop relationships and find the talent that our companies are looking for.”

Career center professionals’ feedback:

  • “Our students are always telling us they want a diverse range of opportunities, and the Florida market offers that diversity,” said Melanie Parker, executive director for Global Education and Career Development at MIT.
  • “I love learning about the new industries coming to this area that I would not know about if The Corridor didn’t put on this event,” said Deb Herman, director of employer relations and recruiting for Center for Career and Professional Development at Clemson University. “Seeing the growth over the last three years, I have been able to build ongoing relationships with Florida industries.”
  • “One of the major differences of Talent Forum is we have reversed the roles, and the universities are sitting behind the table,” said Janet Jones, director of employer relations for University Career Services at Rutgers University. “It’s sort of a reverse fair in that we are promoting our degree programs, schools, majors and skill sets to employers while trying to help them better navigate complex universities and identify talent.”
  • “It has been really exciting to learn about what’s happening in Florida’s economy,” said Robin Mount, director of career, research and international opportunities for the Office of Career Services at Harvard University. “I didn’t realize that Florida was such as large manufacturing site.”

The Corridor’s Talent Forum 2019 is tentatively scheduled for March 27-29. For more information, visit www.floridahightech.com/talent-forum.

Media Contacts:

If you are seeking information about The Corridor or the initiatives of the Council, please contact:

Kacie Escobar
Curley & Pynn Public Relations
(407) 423-8006

We would be happy to put you in contact with industry experts who can speak to a variety of technology topics in their area of expertise. For a preview of the leaders who can share their experience in growing tech-based businesses in the Corridor, explore the videos of our Faces of Technology.