Minnesota Technology Association

A Force for Good in Tech and the Community

Over the past 38 years, the Minnesota Technology Association—formerly the Minnesota High Tech Association—has been a unifying voice and trusted convener for Minnesota’s tech community, advocating for smart public policies to boost the state’s innovation economy and connecting technology professionals and tech-related companies to build a more robust, and inclusive, tech ecosystem.

Recognizing that almost every company is, in some way, a tech company, MnTech’s recent rebranding reflects a renewed focus on broader community building.

“We don’t want to focus only on ‘high technology,’” says Jeff Tollefson, president of the Minnesota Technology Association. “We want to increasingly embrace the broader spectrum of tech-enabled companies and more deeply engage with those deploying technology in new and innovative ways to drive their business success.”

One of the ways MnTech is doing so is through establishing a series of communities of interest—gatherings and working groups designed to foster learning and connection based on shared passions and interests. Seven COIs have recently launched, including AI in Manufacturing, Tech Careers 1.0, and Tech for Good, with more planned in the coming months.

Part of MnTech’s efforts in this regard led the association to create a new position—Director of Community Engagement. They’ve found a worthy director in Jade Denson, whose role is to not only facilitate MnTech’s learning communities, but also to form active partnerships with other area organizations that support entrepreneurs and innovators. The idea is to better connect these organizations with MnTech’s member companies and thus strengthen the state’s innovation ecosystem organically through these relationships.

“Minnesota has a rich history of innovation to build on, and in order to build the next generation of industry leaders, we need to maintain a culture that not only values and supports innovation but intentionally cultivates the talent needed to fuel a technology-driven economy,” Jeff says.

That perspective on the importance of talent development has led MnTech to double-down on its efforts to build the tech talent pipelines Minnesota companies need for continued business success. With Baby Boomers reaching retirement age and an education system—both secondary and
post-secondary—struggling to produce appropriately skilled graduates, there is an urgent need to address current and future talent gaps. Both circumstances force different thinking about where talent might come from, including “tapping into often-overlooked talent pools, especially among historically underserved communities,” Jeff says. “We also need to think about how we expand work-based learning opportunities for our cities’ youth.”

 

 

This kind of programming responds not just to young learners’ needs but also to those of the business community, many of whom only have the bandwidth to deal with their day-to-day talent and staffing needs. But MnTech is in the unique position of being able to tend to and build up tech talent pipelines in a way that will sustain businesses’ growing needs far into the future.

“There’s a need for a group like MnTech to take the lead in helping inspire youth to think about careers in technology, in working with our public education system so that students acquire relevant skills needed for career success, and in thinking about some of the public policies that we can
advocate for to help create a skilled, and more inclusive, tech workforce in Minnesota.”

Through cooperation and collaboration in the community, MnTech is a force for good for technology-driven companies and the people that drive their success.

Minnesota Technology Association

mntech.org
952-230-4555
400 South 4th Street, Suite 416
Minneapolis, MN 55415

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