By Matt Cookson, executive director, NH Tech Council
As executive director of the NH Tech Council, I spend a lot of time thinking about the Council’s ever-evolving role in serving members as we look to address your number one issue – how we develop, attract and retain a workforce that can fuel the growth of the tech sector. I watch ARMI and see huge potential. I went on the Seacoast TechTour on March 21 and heard how all three companies we visited were getting creative about filling workforce gaps. I look at two efforts – the Sector Partnerships Initiative and ApprenticeshipNH – and the fact that they both target the tech sector to help enhance skill levels through retraining and support. And the Council is engaged in efforts to help bring more opportunities for kids in K-12 to be exposed to computer science and enhance skills while potentially earning credit towards graduation. It’s called CS4NH and I am sure you will be hearing much more about it in the near term.
It’s an exciting time to be in technology…and in New Hampshire. I had the fortune to be part of the group that provided input on the Amazon proposal. While New Hampshire did not make the final round, we did wind up with an outstanding proposal that captured the socio-economic value proposition that New Hampshire can offer to businesses, and especially to their employees, and on why this is a great place to work and live. The fact that the proposal was posted on the NH Business and Economic Affairs website and is still there is testimony to both transparency and pride in NH!
In her column in this newsletter, our Board Chair Toral Cowieson alluded to the fact that 2018 is going to be a transformative year for the Council. I want to second that and note that the reason we are able to do more for the tech sector and for our members is through the ongoing support we receive from our membership and our tech community. As an organization, membership is at a record high, our net revenues are up 50 percent in just three years, and we are able to offer more programming and engagement opportunities than ever before. Being in my eighth year as executive director, I am extremely proud of what we have done towards building and promoting a strong tech ecosystem and am thankful for the many people that have helped make our events, programming, advocacy efforts and promotional work successful.
Along those lines, I want to give a shout out to the more than 100 volunteers we have that serve on about a dozen committees across the Council. You are the backbone that allow us to have more than 3,000 people attend our events and get noticed through social media promotion. For others, additional volunteer opportunities exist. Please let us know if you would like to serve.
In summary, we do have workforce challenges and need to be creative to help our companies grow. However, we have a great value proposition and need to continually tell our story and highlight our successes. If you have not read the Amazon proposal, I strongly encourage you to do so. Watch for exciting news on how we plan to be at the forefront of serving our members and supporting core pillars of services that can help ensure that the tech sector continues to be a top economic driver for New Hampshire.