February 11, 2021

Virtual Panel Event Hosted by Washingtonian Magazine

Key Takeaways: Washingtonian Panel Event – How the Tech Sector is Upskilling the Workforce

Featuring esteemed speakers from 1901 Group, AWS, Byte Back, and special guest, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA)

On February 11, 2021, Washingtonian Magazine hosted a virtual panel discussion with esteemed speakers on “How the Tech Sector is Upskilling the Workforce” to share trends, best practices, and key investments for the future workforce.

As the world continues to feel the reverberating effects of COVID-19 on all aspects of life, the US labor market is experiencing volatility like never before. Globalization and automation have reduced the number of manufacturing jobs available. Also, the tech sector is contending with a lack of skilled workers to take on the myriad of responsibilities that are increasingly running the world.

Moderator, Cathy Merrill, CEO of Washingtonian Magazine welcomed guest speaker, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), and industry experts Sonu Singh, CEO of 1901 Group (a Leidos company); Kim Majerus, Leader of Education, State, and Local Government of AWS; and Elizabeth Lindsey, CEO of Byte Back to discuss what investments must be made by the government and tech industry to ensure that training is accessible and available, what processes should be in place to widen the talent pool, and how can innovations in technology help propel these initiatives forward.

The real challenge is not individual aptitude, rather how to get training opportunities to rural or overlooked communities. Provided are some key takeaways from the panel discussion:

1.Investments in Human Capital and Workforce Development: Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) highlights the opportunity for the federal government to foster greater investments in human capital and workforce development, which should act as a catalyst across small, medium, and large businesses to invest more in employee training and continued education.

2. Reskilling and Upskilling – IT Career Path: There is unanimous agreement across panelists that there is a domestic and global technology talent deficit that can be reduced by reskilling and upskilling individuals who are interested in shifting into an IT career path.

3. Access to Free and Low-Cost Training: There are substantial amounts and types of free and/or low-cost training programs available to individuals interested in:
• Reskilling into an IT job
• Upskilling into a more advanced IT position
• Programs include Byte Back; VA Ready; and AWS re/Start.

4. Technology Careers for Rural and Underserved Locations: Rural and underserved urban locations are home to individuals with technical aptitude, a strong work ethic, and the desire to learn, all of which are essential for entering a technology career at any level.

5. Access to Broadband and High-Speed Internet: Sonu Singh, CEO of 1901 Group (a Leidos Company), compared the urgency and potential productivity gains coming from making broadband available across all the United States with the productivity gains saw from our interstate roads initiative in the 1950s. The 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) needs to include high-speed internet access for all Americans, urban and rural.

Explore how public officials, communities, educators, and employers alike can partner together and build skilled teams for a better future and economy here.

Learn more in the Washingtonian Magazine article here.

Watch the full panel discussion below.

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