October 7, 2022 - 10:13 am

Demystifying Tech Careers: 20Fathoms Introduces the Tech Career Discovery Series

By 20Fathoms

A critical component in combating Northern Michigan’s “brain drain” is providing opportunities for community members to see and hear from those working locally in high-paying, high-demand jobs like those found in technology. A new event series by 20Fathoms is doing just that and demystifying tech careers. It’s called the Tech Career Discovery Series.

“There are so many different types of jobs available in technology and you can do them right here in Northern Michigan,” said Gretchen Swanson, Director of Workforce Development at 20Fathoms. “But we know that many people feel hesitant about pursuing a tech career, wondering if it’s really a good fit. The purpose of these events is two-fold. First, we want to inspire people and help them understand that, yes, a tech career is for them. Second, we want to empower them to get started with the training they need to begin and growth their tech careers in our region.”

Tech Career Discovery Series 9.28.22
During the first Tech Career Discovery Series event on Sept. 28, moderator Gretchen Swanson spoke with panelists Ken Hartman and Brian VanVoorst about their careers in tech.

20Fathoms Leads a Community Initiative on Tech Talent

Leveraging national research from the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) and the best practices from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Career Readiness Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) academy, 20Fathoms created this new Tech Career Discovery Series as a way to showcase those in our region working in the tech sector in order to inspire those considering a career change or those pondering their educational future opportunities.

“We plan to take the Tech Career Discovery Series on the road and host future events in communities throughout our region,” said Gretchen. “We want to lower the barriers of entry to tech careers. Bringing this series to you is one step.”

The event series is part of a larger initiative in which 20Fathoms is working with regional partners via the newly formed Employer Led Collaborative (ELC) to address the region’s shortage in tech professionals. To do that we take a collaborative approach by planning with our community partners and regional employers; we look for gaps in the tech career pathways and seek new ways to fill them.  No one organization alone will be able to meet the tech education needs of growing employers – collaboration and coordination is essential. 

Also in development is competency-based training as defined by local employers and designed by Northwestern Michigan College and Grand Valley State University. Community members will be able to access training in the form of micro-credentials that employers are looking for in prospective tech employees. 

“20Fathoms brokers in talent,” said Eric Roberts, Executive Director of 20Fathoms. “Tech talent is necessary for our local startups and legacy businesses to grow and for other businesses to consider us in their site selection.”