Jeff Tollefson

President & CEO, Minnesota Technology Association

Technology and people. For more than 30 years, these two very different, yet intrinsically intertwined words have formed the basis of my professional life. First, as a venture capital investor backing entrepreneurial teams developing and leveraging technology to create and grow innovative companies. Next, as a social entrepreneur helping low-income high school students succeed on a path to career success in the tech field through the Genesys Works program. And now, leading the Minnesota Technology Association, where cultivating and developing our state’s tech talent resources is a top priority.

I’ve long believed in technology as a powerful force for change in our world, a belief that has only been hardened as we address the current challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. Technology is enabling and powering the remote workforce that’s keeping our economy afloat, the distance learning keeping our students on track, and the videoconferencing and communication tools keeping families and friends connected and informed.

As important as technology is to our increasingly connected world, more so are the individuals that bring promising technologies to life. From the inventor or engineer with the idea, to the CIOs leading digital transformations at their companies, it’s all about the people. Those leading the charge, and those delivering the results.

Talent matters. Recognizing that the success of any business depends on the strength of its people, it’s no wonder that business leaders are increasingly focused on attracting and retaining diverse teams with the digital skills and competencies needed to innovate and grow their organizations.

This is why the Minnesota Technology Association has prioritized helping Minnesota’s technology-driven companies inspire, hire, develop, and retain exceptional talent. This means helping to develop new tech talent pipelines, advocating for workforce policy changes at the state and federal level, creating opportunities for companies to share best practices, and facilitating connections between job seekers and employers as we cultivate the skilled, inclusive technology workforce Minnesota companies need for continued business success.

Many of Minnesota’s future workforce challenges are based on changing demographics and uneven labor force participation. With baby boomers leaving the tech workforce in large numbers over the next ten years, we need to think differently as to how we inspire our next generation to pursue STEM careers. We need to think differently as to how we engage historically overlooked and untapped sources of talent, how we attract new talent to Minnesota, and how we develop and retain talent once onboard.

The war for talent in the tech sector will only intensify, which is why addressing this issue is such a strategic imperative for MnTech and the companies and communities we serve. Working together, we can build the skilled, and more inclusive, tech workforce needed to sustain the strength and vibrancy of our tech ecosystem and Minnesota’s innovation economy. We’re proud to be your partners in this important work.

Minnesota Technology Association

mntech.org

400 South 4th Street, Suite 416
Minneapolis, MN 55415

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