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Saturday, February 12

Building a Pipeline of American Talent

I was sitting with some folks last week, after watching Wayne Hicks recieve recognition at the Microsoft Charlotte campus. We had a very interesting conversation which struck a cord with me. We were talking about the need to create a pipeline, a steady stream, of high quality minority talent. Specifically for companies looking to hire this talent.

Now, this idea is not all mine, so I certainly won't take credit for it, but I thought I'd discuss it a bit.

The realization was that, maybe, just maybe, the BDPA SITES program is allready setup to deliver just such a pipeline.

Think about it from a hiring companies perspective. They need to find top talent for junior level technical positions. Typically they would service this need by going to College Events and other well known HR practices.

But how do they find those really talented kids. The ones that have a 4.0 but also have real world experience. Those talented "Lebrauns", "Kobes" and "Shaqs" of the IT world.

I know that we (BDPA) know who those students are, I personally can tick off 4 in the last two years. It's those students who have gone through our Youth Technology Camp then gone on to our "High School Computer Academy" and then followed up on our collegiate program the "IT Showcase". It's students who have had in-depth conversations and mentorship by real working IT Professionals, year after year.

So when you find one of these students, you know you have found an individual who:
  • Excels at technology
  • Understands technology
  • Is able to develop and deliver real world solutions
  • Is capable of functioning appropriately in a company environment
  • Has excelled academically and professionally
Put simply, these companies would find that they have a student who is ready to work and able to learn how to perform the job quicker and easier than your normal college graduate.

A reliable, flexible and productive employee is a very solid ROI (Return on Investment). One might even say it is the most import measure for an HR department. BDPA has the ability to offer those candidates on a platter.

As a hiring manager, you want to get your new higher to produce as soon as possible and you want your new hire to be flexible to the nuances of your business. BDPA students deliver on both fronts.

So what does BDPA ask in return, just a few things:

First: Cash. It costs to get the right equipment, to market to the right youths, to give the youths experiences that will prepare them for the work force. It simply takes money.

Second: Internships. You can only get experience by working. I've found that most of our students stand out as interns. Even when our high-school students are interning with college students. We encourage companies to setup high-school and college internships, both paid and unpaid, where our students can learn and contribute.

Third: On the job Advancement. Once on the job, evaluate theirperformance, advance them as needed. They will shine, but you must give them opportunity to do so. Doing so will allow them to find other good employees to join your company.

All in all, it was an interesting conversation. It definitely needs some polish. I'd like to put a deck together illustrating this concept in simpler (fewer) words.

But sometimes it's more important to simple capture the thought.

Please keep in mind, these are my personal thoughts and opinions and not necessarily the opinions of BDPA at a national level.

Thoughs? Comments?


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