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Tackling Skills Based Technical Training for Austin Area Labor Force Shortage

“STEAM is the new STEM”

Our non-profit education arm, Collective, is leading the way for short term, low cost, and free training in the what’s called S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, entertainment, arts, media). Very few individuals are ready, willing or able to spend four to six years and thousands of dollars to pursue a degree in STEM.  Most don’t have an interest in being a mathematician or engineer. Matter of fact, only the top forty percentile of high school graduates are college ready. 

The time has come, evident in Austin, Texas, where we’re starting, and clearly critical in these reports thanks to Community Impact, to assist our local area workforce in short term subject-specific technical training that will fulfill the needs of companies who are having difficulties in finding employees to fill the void . The jobs are here, companies just need employees who carry the skills based knowledge to accomplish specific task. These are not scientist or high level programmers or statistical analysts, these are people who can fulfill the labor gap with “certificates of completion” taught by industry professionals , not professors with tenure.

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There is a huge gap to fill and the jobs do not need or require a for year academic degree and they do not require three years of general education rhetoric to fulfill most of the local labor force needs. This is quite evident as their are thousands of recent college grads who are unemployed, living at home and are burdened with thousands of dollars in student loan debt, a debt that taxpayers will soon realize to be the next financial crisis.  An inescapable debt that will follow the graduate and their families and loved ones for years to come.

Austin Workforce

There is a tremendous need to provide employment for persons over fifty, who are , for the most part, mature, reliable, soft skilled and eager to work. Most of these baby boomers do not have the time or financial wherewithal to go back to the drawing board and spend two or four years sitting in class to compete with the unemployed millennial!

Additionally, while college and universities grads are well suited for certain employers, we have recruited thousands of foreign , highly trained workers that have, for the most , filled the STEM labor force. Not to discourage individuals who want to take a flight down this path, we need to focus on the here and now, the data is there and our local workforce and employers have spoken. The proof is in the DATA.

Bootcamps have surged in popularity in recent years. These accelerated, intensive programs attract tech-minded students looking to learn full-stack web, mobile and front-end development, as well as UX design, digital marketing and product management. Graduates are not only succeeding in the job market, but they are seeing a significant increase in salary compared to what they earned before enrolling.

We are not trying to recreate the wheel, we are trying to get people down the road! Short term, skills based mentorship training, career placement and paid apprenticeships, that’s what we need.

Austin Texas Talent Pool

Paul O’Brien, co-founder of Mediatech Ventures, had the honor of talking with Kristen Mosbrucker for the San Antonio Business Journal about the role of education in innovation and job creation, particularly in Texas.

What we (well, I) considered – there are differences in approaches to education: Some schools (i.e. Stanford, Harvard, MIT) practically kick students out of school to go start companies while others (Texas schools?) focus on degrees and commercializing intellectual property. Moreover is the question of broad experience curriculum (the 4 year degree) vs. skilled and workforce development.

Which direction fosters job creators – Innovators who will start the companies of the future?

Interestingly, where working professionals seem to excel is in industry specialization – neither skill alone nor broadly applicable degree but when specialized in industry: Finance, Autos, Restaurants, Sports, Media.

In Demand Jobs

No? The coder or freelance I want to hire is experienced in the industry in which I work. The college grad with a BA is more prepared to go to work when they know a particular space in which they want to work.

Neither traditional academics nor trade schools but rather work/learn, with experienced mentors along industry lines. My passion? Our work? Media. Huge thanks to Randy Blankenship for helping me move that direction and start realizing this evolution of Education, for what we’re doing in MediaTech Ventures.

Kudos at John ZozzaroSam Green, Randall Dark, Ken Morales, and Kevin Chin for taking some of our early steps to change education in media. I/we appreciate your support at MediaTech Ventures

We have set up 8-10 Week Bootcamps that we will be offering at low cost, and free for some, through public/private scholarships. For more info on what we are doing and if you want to help create change or provide a scholarship for those in need, contact us here.

Paul O'Brien

Silicon Valley technology and startup veteran, Paul O'Brien is affectionately known as SEO'Brien for an extensive past in the search industry. Today as CEO and Founder of MediaTech Ventures, O'Brien works in Venture Capital Economic Development, serving the investment and venture capital economies directly, through thought leadership, consulting, and startup development. More, a regional Director of the Founder Institute incubator and mentor in DivInc, Galvanize, and various startup Accelerators.

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