Blacksburg, VA – December 16, 2020. The Roanoke-Blacksburg Technology Council (RBTC) held a virtual press conference to discuss tech talent initiatives, including the Experiential Learning In Tech Employment (ELITE) program, which connects tech talent to local, Region 2 companies. The public event featured RBTC partner organizations, Exelaration and MAXX Potential with dialogue from recent alumni of the internship and apprenticeship programs and their employers.

 

Recent data reveals that technology positions are among the top ten most challenging roles to fill in the U.S. This tech talent deficit is linked to a common skills gap; recent graduates are mostly qualified for tech positions but lack real-world experience and the soft skills gained from first-hand job experience. The significant difference in gaining just one year of job experience is critical to candidates across the employment spectrum, from students to new grads to career changers.

Earlier this year, $290,000 was allocated to the ELITE program as part of the Growth and Opportunity for Virginia (GO Virginia) grants awarded in Region 2, which covers Montgomery County and the City of Roanoke. ELITE aims to bridge the talent gap through internship and apprenticeship opportunities for students and career-changing adults, connecting them with small-based technology companies that do not have the expertise or capacity to manage an internship program. Virginia’s Region 2 companies can apply for the program through RBTC and are connected with Exelaration and MAXX Potential utilizing professionally managed technologists.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Exelaration and MAXX Potential to fulfill the goals of the ELITE grant,” said John Phillips, president of RBTC. “This new initiative strengthens the community’s efforts to attract and retain technology talent,” Phillips explained.  “By introducing candidates to local companies and encouraging a connection to the community, they are more likely to remain in our area.  That’s a win for the job seekers and the local economy.”

Employers interested in applying for the program may contact John Phillips, President, RBTC.

A recording of today’s event can be viewed here.

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