Western Mass IT Workforce Symposium Set for Holyoke on Feb. 14

AMHERST, Mass. – Workforce training professionals, teachers from grade school through college, business leaders, non-profit staff and policy makers are invited to a free symposium and panel discussion on the state of information technology (IT) education and the IT workforce in Massachusetts and the nation at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, 100 Bigelow St., in Holyoke.

Keynote speaker will be Rick Adrion, professor emeritus of computer science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and director of the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education, discussing “The Computer Workforce in Western Mass: A Critical Shortage?” He will describe some of his research on IT education, the lack of adequately prepared computer scientists and other IT professionals in Massachusetts and the nation, and the underrepresentation of women and minorities now working in IT fields, among other topics.

The event will also feature a panel discussion with Delcie Bean, president of Paragus IT and director of Tech Foundry, who will talk about a new approach to addressing these problems. Other panelists will be Jackie Fallon, president of FIT Solutions, and Paul Hake of Hitpoint Studios, both active in the IT employment sector. Robert LePage of Holyoke Community College, Springfield Technical Community College and the Training and Workforce Options program will discuss his own research that has included surveys of Pioneer Valley businesses.

The event is sponsored by the Pioneer Valley STEM Network and UMass STEM Education Institute.