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Tech Focus Groups Chart Career Navigation

Earlier this year, the U. S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), through the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), awarded NOVA a $150,000 grant as part of the Bay Area Regional Prosperity Plan. The goal of the grant is to create and deliver a career-related training curriculum to promote advancement in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) cluster for students and alumni through the Oakland-based Stride Center's entry-level tech training program. As an initial step in this effort, on June 11, NOVA convened several employers for a roundtable discussion about their workforce needs that was hosted by Intuit. Employers in attendance included representatives from Intuit, Ingersoll Rand-Trane, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Proofpoint Systems, and the City of Sunnyvale’s Information Technology department. When asked to describe the key characteristics of the ideal employee, the roundtable cited confidence, customer-awareness, curiosity and a passion for life-long learning.

As part of this effort, the Stride Center also convened several focus groups from its newly formed Leadership Council of successful Stride Center alumni to capture the job seeker perspective. In the future, this Leadership Council will provide a forum for support, information and networking between Stride Center students and graduates that will be invaluable to finding and retaining employment in the competitive technology industry.

The information collected through roundtables and focus groups will be incorporated into a curriculum to train entry-level workers in professional networking, personal marketing, and other career navigation skills that are critical to advancement along a tech career ladder.