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Not only is competition for tech talent fierce, students are graduating college without the skills needed in industry today.

Enter Next Gen Tech 360 (NGT360) , an innovative program designed to bridge the skills gap between the next generation and today’s workforce needs.

Based in Clearwater, NGT360 is a youth technology “Shark Tank” type of program, plus so much more! High school students form teams to solve real-world problems with technology-based solutions. They attend workshops where they learn what it takes to develop a technology solution in the real world. The focus is on the product value proposition and all of the non-coding skills that make the difference in successfully delivering a working product.

Each year, about 150 students from Pinellas County participate in the program under the guidance of approximately 50 mentors representing more than 25 companies based in the Tampa Bay area. “Students select a real-world problem that they want to solve ,” says Robyn Mussler, CEO & Founder of the NGT 360 program and its parent organization, ConnectIT 360. “The foundational skills we teach, under the guidance of mentors from our business community, help student teams take their raw ideas and
turn them into a minimal viable product (MVP) that can be taken to market.”


NGT 360 is designed to teach our youth what it takes to work together effectively as a team, analyze a problem, and find solutions. They define customers’ needs and build a product to deliver value with a good customer experience.

“Students develop a solid skills tool kit and learn about different career opportunities,” says Mussler. “Non-technical people believe that the world of technology is all about coding, and there are so many more opportunities than that!”

“Students see how we all work together, bringing different skills to the table, and how it is a combination of these skills and roles that is essential to the development of a good product,” says Mussler. “A main focus of the program is to teach tech with a purpose. We don’t develop fancy tech for the sake of fancy tech. It has to have customer value with a good customer experience, that’s extremely important.”

NGT 360 uses hands-on learning techniques to teach industry-leading best practices. This allows students to learn first-hand the skills needed to succeed in their future careers.

Agility and grit are also valuable lessons taught in the program. The necessity of agility became readily apparent this past year when Mussler was forced to pivot to a 100% virtual program to complete the 2019-20 season. She then retooled the program to make it a virtual experience for the 2020-21 season. It is about finding solutions no matter what obstacles lie in our path!.

Connect-IT 360 has partnered with two companies to drive the NGT 360 program during the pandemic. GNOWBE, a mobile microlearning platform, helps drive clarity and provides opportunities for the students to be more engaged and interactive.

The second partner is Pelocity, a skills assessment company. “The students take an assessment which allows them to understand their talents and the different career pathways available to them,” says Mussler “ We are then able to match their skillsets to potential internships and career opportunities. These partnerships have made the NGT 360 program much more robust.”

Another exciting venture for 2021 is our partnership with Citizens High School, a nationally and regionally accredited virtual high school, to offer two high school courses for academic credit to students. Looking to expand this accredited program to include summer enrichment and bootcamp programs as well.”

Mussler’s vision is to expand NGT 360 beyond the state of Florida and make it an educational experience that connects students and businesses around the world for all communities to benefit and thrive.

… we need to move at the speed of business and technology to build solid and impactful marketable solutions to meet today’s challenges. NGT 360 nails this! Preparing our youth with the essential skills not just to survive but thrive in this new economy.”
—Kevin Harrington Original “Shark”, Shark Tank

“… the true value is in the mentorships and the foundations of starting a true technology start-up. … the skills I’ve learned ….. benefit me in both my personal and professional life.”
—Matthew Werneken, 2019 NGT 360 Winning Team

“NGT 360 is so robust! In addition to technical competency, it teaches; soft skills, communications, work ethic, presentation skills, critical thinking and time management—Dr. Jodi Kirk Teacher, Tech High at Seminole

“This program nails teaching these kids the skills that are deficient in young adults entering into the workforce…..”
— Kishen Sridharan Overreach Executive & Mentor, Raymond James

NGT360 provides businesses through sponsorships:

  • The ability to influence and develop future talent
  • Fulfill corporate social responsibility commitments including diversity and inclusion
  • Pipeline of skilled talent
  • Insight to the needs for future products and services allowing your business to be competitive in the new economy

Other INNOVATE® Ecosystems