Massachusetts High Technology Council Announces TalentConnect; New Technology-Based Workforce Solution Connects High Schools, Colleges, Employers

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The Massachusetts High Technology Council, which represents the state's leading technology companies and universities, today unveiled TalentConnect, a comprehensive, web-based workforce development program that will create a seamless talent pipeline from high school through college and into the workforce. The Council has partnered with Boston-based ConnectEDU, which is the nation's leading online solutions provider for managing college and career transitions and has the largest network of high schools and colleges in Massachusetts and across the country.

Massachusetts is fortunate to have world-class universities and some of the world's most innovative companies, but historically these assets have been disconnected from a workforce development perspective

The Massachusetts High Technology Council (http://www.mhtc.org) today unveiled TalentConnect, a comprehensive new workforce development program that will help generate a larger and better informed pool of skilled workers to feed the future growth of the state's diverse technology economy. The program, which will be launched among a select group of Council member companies and universities, uses data-rich, web-based technology to create a seamless talent pipeline from high school through college and into the workforce.

"Despite the economic downturn, access to a skilled workforce is the top long-term priority of technology employers," said Council President Christopher R. Anderson. "This program finally joins all the elements of the workforce pipeline - high schools, colleges and employers - in order to create a coordinated and nimble workforce development strategy for the Commonwealth."

The recent Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study results showed that Massachusetts students can compete with the rest of the world, but fewer of the Commonwealth's graduates indicate they plan to pursue majors or careers that focus on technology. TalentConnect works to stimulate the talent development pipeline by educating and engaging students interested in technology careers and informing college graduates of career opportunities in the Massachusetts technology sectors.

Developed in partnership with Boston-based ConnectEDU, TalentConnect will integrate an employer workforce recruitment function into a growing national network of universities and high schools that will allow employers to connect with potential employees as early as the ninth grade. TalentConnect will provide employers the ability to identify, inform and develop relationships with students that have expressed interest in their organization or associated careers. In addition, this program modernizes and streamlines employers' workforce development operations, resulting in cost savings and better results than traditional recruitment and retention methods.

High school students benefit from TalentConnect by having free access to a full-service college to career development program, which guides them on the best ways to pursue high school and college coursework that will lead to a meaningful career in technology or other critical areas. TalentConnect gives college students the ability to reach out to prospective employers for internship and long-term employment opportunities.

"Massachusetts is fortunate to have world-class universities and some of the world's most innovative companies, but historically these assets have been disconnected from a workforce development perspective," said state Senator Steven C. Panagiotakos, who chairs the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. "The TalentConnect program closes this gap and fills the skilled talent pipeline by reaching back into our K-12 public schools to create a meaningful high school to college to career pathway for the Commonwealth's students. In addition, the data generated from this program will be invaluable for policymakers as we craft economic and education policy in the future."

Since TalentConnect works directly with high school and colleges, the program will have full access to a student's complete academic and employment history. TalentConnect will follow all state and national privacy laws and students must opt-in to any information sharing transaction with employers or colleges.

The program uses ConnectEDU's proprietary tools and solutions to assist all parties involved with student transitions - students, parents, counselors, admission officers, transfer coordinators, recruiters, employers, and registrars. TalentConnect also taps the nation's largest network of high schools and colleges, which the Council and ConnectEDU are actively working to grow in Massachusetts.

"While ConnectEDU is a national company, our roots are right here in Massachusetts," said ConnectEDU CEO Craig Powell. "We are very pleased to be supporting a program that will help more Massachusetts students pursue meaningful college and professional careers as well as generating the pipeline of skilled workers to grow the regional economy."

TalentConnect's Massachusetts network connects to a national network of 300 universities and more than 2000 high schools, which allows colleges and employers to tap prospective candidates from across the nation. In addition, national employers with strong Massachusetts ties, including Deloitte, are already working with ConnectEDU on a national basis.

"The problems facing talent recruiters across our innovation and high-value added services economy are well documented. Employers are seeing a shortage of workers skilled in science, technology, engineering and math," said William J. Ribaudo, Partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP. "We believe that TalentConnect helps fill the pipeline gaps in many talent acquisition strategies."

TalentConnect will also create a comprehensive new set of data that will help inform state education and workforce development policy.

About the Massachusetts High Technology Council
The Massachusetts High Technology Council is composed of CEOs from the state's top technology employers who for 30 years have worked to make Massachusetts a more competitive place for technology growth. Council members run leading global companies from all sectors of the state's diverse technology economy. In 2004, the Council launched the Defense Technology Initiative, which led the state's efforts to preserve the state's two top defense technology installations, Hanscom Air Force Base and the Natick Soldier Systems Center.

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