KC’s Tech Talent Shortage | How the Royals Would Solve It
If you’re in IT in Kansas City, you’ve probably heard that there is a tech talent shortage here. KCnext – The Technology Council of Greater Kansas City estimates that there are over 2,000 open technology positions in Kansas City today. That’s why they sponsored a series of IT Workforce Summits earlier this year to explore ideas for adding tech talent to keep KC at the forefront of the technology industry. Of course, the Royals weren’t the can’t do anything wrong, World Champions then, so no one suggested the idea of WWRD – What Would the Royals Do? But now?
The challenges of building a winning technology workforce aren’t that different from building a winning baseball roster. Teams can build through the draft and develop their own talent, make trades, sign free agents and even look to other countries for talent. Some of these ways take more time, some take more money and some take a little of both. The Royals overcame those challenges and put together the winning strategy.
Essentially the Royals built from within or from the bottom up. They scouted for and acquired amateur talent. They brought it in and began training it – not by just developing the baseball skills but also teaching the “Royals Way” of playing. They continued to acquire, develop and promote from within to develop the core team. Only then did they add complementary “expert” talent (i.e., free agents). And, they did so at affordable salaries because as the Royals started to win, the free agent talent was attracted to Kansas City. Ultimately, the Royals proved to have done it the right way while teams looking to build around expensive, experienced star players (yes you, Yankees, Angels and Dodgers) watched from home.
Building technology talent can work the same way. Kansas City companies can steal from each other (a zero sum game in terms of adding talent), they can lure expensive, experienced talent from other US cities, they can import foreign talent or they can build from within following the Royals winning formula.
A Royals tech talent strategy would start by creating a pipeline of young, trainable talent. Whether it is through our high schools, colleges or IT Pro/Coding boot camps such as Centriq Training’s TechSmart KC program, Kansas City companies need to support the acquisition and training of entry-level IT talent. To fill the more experienced IT/Coding positions, companies can promote existing tech employees by investing in their continued technology development by utilizing sources such as Centriq’s Corporate IT Training division. When this happens, everyone in the IT organization moves up – just as baseball players move up from the Royals A level minor league teams to their AA team and then to AAA before reaching the majors. Kind of an IT version of “keep the line moving”.
There are also inherent advantages that contribute to the success of this plan. An internally developed IT staff understands the company business (just as the Royals home grown talent understands the Royals Way) and the company already knows the work ethic of the employees (just as the Royals know the character of the players they put on the field). When this happens, a company only has to go into the expensive “free agent” market for “complementary talent” rather than build the entire team around individuals not committed (or even familiar with) the company’s business or culture.
One last thought. As the Royals won, it became easier to attract complementary free agents from the outside. KCnext is committed to demonstrating to the rest of the country that Kansas City is a winning city in an effort to attract IT talent. Its most recent success was the launch of its new website ChuteKC.com promoting Kansas City and the IT job opportunities available here. The combination of a great plan and many people working together drove the Royals to a World Series Championship. The same type of plan can drive Kansas City to put together an IT workforce championship. If it’s good enough for the Royals?
Centriq Training – the only Kansas City based Gold Microsoft Learning Partner – has been committed to the growth and development of the Midwest’s IT workforce since 1989.
We are the only technology training provider in the area that offers a comprehensive schedule of “Instructor-in-the-Classroom” training classes. Students tell us what an advantage it is to have not only the instructor – but also other IT Professionals – physically in the classroom with you. If you can’t make it to our facility based in the Kansas City area, you can experience our world class instructors through Live Virtual Class training or Custom/Private Classes delivered at your office.
Additionally, our TechSmart KC Program is the only comprehensive, hands-on Microsoft training program customized specifically for individuals starting a career in technology. Annually, our TechSmart KC program delivers 300 entry-level IT Professionals and Developers into the IT workforce. Centriq also helps these individuals with job placement free of charge.