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New IT Industry Council launched in Delaware

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WILMINGTON – Delaware has a new industry association representing the state’s information technology (IT) workers, and it aims to position the First State to capture top talent.

The Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) is comprised of more than 20 executives representing the state’s major employers, who will collaborate to help build a ready IT workforce pipeline for the state’s major companies by coordinating with high schools and higher education institutions on training, and recruiting and retaining great talent from in and out of the state.

The ITIC has a public-facing website called Tech Hire Delaware, where it points interested applicants toward a review of IT training programs like Zip Code Wilmington and TechImpact’s ITWorks.

Patrick Callihan, executive director of the nonprofit TechImpact, said the effort to create the ITIC has been ongoing for about year and he worked with Paul Herdman, president and CEO of Rodel, a Delaware nonprofit that partners with state leaders to make systemic changes to improve public education, to enlist the help of former Delaware first lady Carla Markell to recruit business leaders.

“We want to put a real focus on growing an inclusive talent pool around IT in Delaware,” Callihan said.

The membership of the ITIC includes AAA MidAtlantic, Bank of America, Bayhealth, Best Egg, CAI, Capital One, Christiana Care, CSC, Delaware Department of Technology and Information, Delaware Department of Education, Delaware Department of Labor, Delaware Technical Community College,  Diamond Technologies, DuPont, JP Morgan Chase, M&T Bank, My Sherpa, Pepco Holdings, Delmarva Power, The Precisionists, Trinity Logistics, and WSFS Bank.

While Delaware has seen an increasing spotlight for its IT sector, especially in regard to its plentiful financial services employers, it also suffers from a lack of needed workers.

“The demand for skilled IT professionals will intensify as our reliance on technology surges and we need to keep pace to be competitive,” said James Collins, chief information officer at the Delaware Department of Technology and Information, in a statement. “The Department of Labor projects that six of the top 10 most in-demand jobs are in IT, which makes the role of the IT Industry Council vital.”

The ITIC grew out of the Delaware Pathways initiative, which launched in 2015. Today, the program enrolls close to 20,000 students in all of Delaware’s 19 public school districts. Students can choose from 18 different career pathways spanning from health care to culinary arts and gain a combination of targeted classroom instruction, college credit, and real-world work experience.

In a statement, Gov. John Carney, who kicked off the first ITIC meeting July 16, called the goal of building a coordinated strategy to strengthen Delaware’s tech talent pipeline “critical.”

“We have most of the elements in place to be a national leader, but we need deliberate efforts to ensure a diverse supply of skilled IT specialists right here in Delaware. I look forward to this IT Industry Council collaborating with companies, higher education institutions, training organizations, and the K-12 system to develop the next generation of IT professionals, engineers, and leaders to fuel innovation in our state,” he said.

The ITIC won’t be alone in its efforts to bring stakeholders together, as Delaware’s economic development agency, the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP), is also working with a national consulting firm to develop a coordinated statewide strategy to build an inclusive tech talent pipeline scheduled to be released this fall.

“DPP has worked closely with Tech Impact Delaware during the current research project and is pleased that a group of leaders and employers is coming together to help nurture and support IT-related employment and companies in the years ahead. We look forward to partnering with the Council and others to grow a more vibrant Delaware economy,” said Charles Madden, director of talent services at DPP, in a statement.


By Jacob Owens

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