Tech talent is the hot topic as TECNA’s national conference (finally) returns to Pittsburgh

Technology Councils of North America (TECNA) and 100 executives from across the continent will be in Pittsburgh the remainder of this week for the membership organization’s annual summer conference. The conference runs from July 20-22 and is hosted by a local TECNA member Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC).

Sound familiar? This is the same conference that was originally scheduled to take place in the city in July 2020. However, due to the pandemic, TECNA has chosen to hold a virtual gathering for the past two years. Pittsburgh previously hosted TECNA in 2002.

TECNA represents approximately 60 IT and technology professional organizations across the United States and Canada which, in turn, represent more than 22,000 technology-related businesses in North America. When Pittsburgh was originally picked in 2020, Tim Jemalformer executive director of TECNA, said the organization’s board of directors reviewed several hosting offers and concluded that PTC’s conference staff and facilities made it an excellent choice to host the conference.

“Pittsburgh’s continued rise as a vibrant technology ecosystem coupled with a strong technology board makes it an ideal location for the 2020 TECNA Summer Conference,” Jemal said at the time. (new TECNA Executive Director from January 2021, Jennifer Grundy Youngis a Pittsburgh native and a former longtime member of the PTC team.)

The conference will cover topics such as recruiting talent, growing membership, sponsorships and event attendance, as well as preparing for a possible recession. Brian KennedySVP of Operations and Government Affairs at PTC, said Technically this week that talent remains one of the biggest challenges participating organizations will face in 2022.

“Collectively, the Tecna Member Association represents more than 22,000 employers who [are] facing massive shortages of qualified software engineers, cybersecurity professionals and business analysts,” he wrote in an email.

Professional organizations are trying to find innovative ways to bring underrepresented professionals into the tech industry, including creating “guided pathways.” The Apprentices program, for example, was launched by the Washington Technology Industry Association and “rapidly expanded to other markets, including Pittsburgh,” he said. In PGH Apprentices first year, the local program saw almost 35 apprenticeship places filled and an apprentice retention rate of 95%. According to Kennedy, more than half of the participants are women, 38% are African American and 16% are Latinx. (Learn more about the structure and objectives of Apprenti PGH.)

Dean Millerpresident of Philadelphia Alliance Capital and Technologies (PACT)told Technical.ly that he is heading to the TECNA conference this week and plans to speak with other Apprentice executives as he plans to bring the program to Philadelphia in the coming months.

“It’s so helpful to connect face to face with your peers and I’m excited about this year’s event,” Miller said. “This conference will give me the opportunity to connect with the national Apprenti leadership as well as my other peers who have also launched Apprenti.”

The trip itself is also a plus.

“I’ve spent a lot of time tapping into the rugged and growing Pittsburgh area for investment, but it’s been a few years since I visited,” he said. ” I can not wait to return to ! »

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Jessica C. Bell