Tech Talent Preview: Q&A with UST’s Alvin Abraham

February 19, 2019

 

Dean Alvin Abraham of the Dougherty Family College (DFC) at the University of St. Thomas will share his perspective on broadening access to technology jobs in Minnesota at TechTalent Feb. 28. He speaks here about the challenges of our technology talent gap and possible solutions.

What’s the best thing about working in technology in Minnesota?

At DFC we are reaching students who may have never found their way into college and helping set them up for success toward their four-year degree. Just as we’re trying to increase access to college in an innovative way, it’s exciting that the tech community is also tackling the question of how to bring more people into the field. Together, we have to think outside the box about how we’re preparing our students for the future tech workforce. MHTA has done a good job bringing the tech community together to think about this, and DFC is actively looking at ways to partner with the tech community to prepare our students for our future workforce needs.

What’s the hardest challenge facing our high-tech businesses?

Planning for the future workforce shortage in high-tech business is a real challenge. Hiring a diverse workforce is even more challenging. Companies want employees who mirror their community and customer base. Collectively we must get in front of young people in our community early and often to get them excited about a future career in technology. DFC can play a role in building a bridge between high-tech businesses and hardworking students from diverse backgrounds early in their college career to get them interested and on a track to a career in technology.

What will we learn from you at TechTalent?

During the Solutions Provider session I’ll share how DFC can be a source of diverse, soon-to-be college graduate talent for the tech industry. Almost all of our students identify as people of color, are local to the Twin Cities, and are the first in their families to attend college. During their initial two years of college at DFC, we partner with companies to provide paid internships for our students. Here students learn some technical skills, the soft skills necessary to be successful in a professional work environment, build networks, and ultimately create opportunities for themselves in a career that they’re excited about. I’m sharing about our work in an effort to enlist more technology companies as internship partners as a pathway for them to build pipelines for their future workforce.

Which other speaker are you most excited to hear from?

I’m curious to hear the research from Wilder and RealTime talent to start to quantify the talent gap problem. I’m also excited to hear Commissioner Grove’s perspective on broadening access to technology jobs, as this theme of access is right in line with our mission at Dougherty Family College.

 

What’s your favorite winter hangout?

I have a new baby who is only 7 months old, so my husband and I are spending a lot of time at home this winter by the fire. When we do get out, we really like to try new restaurants. Our latest obsession is Lat14, a new restaurant in Golden Valley with cuisine from different Asian countries found along latitude 14. It has an eclectic and authentic food and drink menu – and it’s loud – so we can bring the baby and not be the noisiest people there!

 

 

Thursday, February 28, 2019 7:30 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Hyatt Regency Bloomington

 

Learn more and register at https://mhta.org/event/techtalent/