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[Original article from Boston Business Journal]

A new online data analytics tool being unveiled this week by the Massachusetts High Technology Council will show how the state measures up against other states in key areas including talent and business competitiveness.

The project, called Massachusetts Technology, Talent and Economic Reporting System (MATTERS), has been in the works for about a year, according to Mark Gallagher, executive vice president of Mass. High Tech Council's Public Policy and Communications division.

The MATTERS tool will have its own website and will contain more than 30 different metrics including tax policy, cost, talent supply and demand, from various databases, indices and sources.

"The purpose here is to make this data actionable and to use the data to identify where Massachusetts is performing well or not performing well," Gallagher said in an interview.

The information goes back about five years and can be compared with 15 other states, including North Carolina and Texas, that are considered competitors to the Massachusetts tech economy.

There's currently no cost to use MATTERS but the Mass. High Tech Council is considering adding additional or premium features so users can delve into the data and analyze it further.

Gallagher anticipates the tool being used by advocates and policy makers, or "anybody who wants to ... see how we are competitive in terms of economic development, or our strengths and weaknesses," he said.

MATTERS was developed in partnership with the Worcester Polytechnic Institute's data science program.

The Mass. High Tech Council is unveiling the MATTERS tool at its 2015 annual meeting on Wednesday.


 

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A top tech industry group unveiled a new tool to compare Massachusetts to other states yesterday as Gov. Charlie Baker said the state needs to solidify its position as a high tech leader by working harder to be more competitive and lowering the cost to do business.
 
“The goal here is to strengthen the areas we have a national lead in, and rectify or improve the areas we can now see a disadvantage,” said Chris Anderson, president of the Massachusetts High Technology Council. “This is actually going to be very helpful for not only keeping track of what our peer states are doing, but informing our decisions.”
 
The Massachusetts’ Technology, Talent and Economic Reporting System is a dashboard that can compare states by a number of metrics, including hiring difficulty for employers and workforce information. The information is focused on understanding the workforce and potential talent in the state.
 
“It’s talent that’s going to drive where we go, and it’s going to determine which countries, which states, which towns, prosper and which don’t,” said Gary Beach who presented MATTERS at the council’s annual meeting.
 
Baker, who gave the keynote address at the meeting, said Massachusetts cannot be complacent.
 
“It’s pretty clear to us that we’re going to have to work a lot harder to be competitive,” he said. “We need to do a better job of lowering our cost of pretty much everything.”
 
The event was a homecoming of sorts for Baker, who began his career at Mass High Tech. Organizers displayed a 30-year-old picture of a young Baker in front of a long-obsolete computer before the governor gave his address.

 

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Web-Based Data Analytics Tool Empowers Dynamic Competiveness Benchmarking and Data-Driven Policy Formulation 
 
The Massachusetts High Tech Council (MHTC) today launched the Massachusetts’ Technology, Talent and Economic Reporting System (MATTERS), a web-based data analytics tool designed to measure and evaluate Massachusetts’ talent and business competitiveness, while providing policy makers, advocates and technology leaders with dynamic, searchable data to inform public policy decisions. The launch of MATTERS was announced at the MHTC’s 2015 Annual Meeting, which featured a keynote address from Governor Charlie Baker.
 
“Maintaining Massachusetts’ competitive position in the 21st century will require ongoing and incisive assessment of the health of our economic environment” said Governor Baker. “Our administration is committed to using data to identify and advance pro-growth economic policies and we are excited about using MATTERS as a primary tool in those efforts.”
 
MATTERS consolidates key cost, economic and talent metrics along with independent national rankings into a single source that is freely available to the public. MATTERS empowers users to measure the health of the technology environment in any state and allows easy and meaningful comparisons among a group of states, with a particular focus on Massachusetts 14 “peer” states whose economies are similarly “tech-centric”.
 
MATTERS’ data analytics technology was developed over the past year by data science faculty and students from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI).
 
“This project exemplifies the commitment of WPI’s faculty and students to solve important problems through understanding and leveraging technology,” said Stephen P. Flavin, WPI vice president and dean for academic and corporate engagement. “Our partnership with the MHTC provided a unique opportunity to challenge our students, while also making a positive impact on addressing an important economic issue.”
 
In addition to WPI, a team of subject matter experts from other Mass. High Tech Council members and partner organizations contributed to the selection and aggregation of relevant metrics and data. MATTERS’ lead sponsor is EMD Millipore and the development team included important contributions from Bentley University, Ernst & Young, KPMG, The MITRE Corporation, Monster Government Solutions, The New England Board of Higher Education, and The US Army Soldier Systems Center.
 
Gary Beach, a MATTERS project team member and Editor Emeritus of CIO Magazine, provided Annual Meeting attendees with a live demonstration of the MATTERS tool. “Until MATTERS, enormously valuable data resided in disparate places - and in static form- effectively locked away from those who might leverage it the most to make informed decisions” Beach said. “By aggregating and injecting dynamism into those key data sets, MATTERS will equip policymakers, business leaders, advocates and researchers with a real-time data analytics tool that will help shape our public policy agenda, our debates and the outcomes of key decisions to be made in Massachusetts for years to come.”
 
Newly elected Council Chairman Bill Achtmeyer, Founder of Parthenon and Senior Managing Director of Parthenon-EY, emphasized MATTERS’ potential to fill a key gap for the Council and the Commonwealth. “The Massachusetts High Technology Council’s mission is to make Massachusetts the world’s most attractive place in which to create and grow a high technology business”, said Achtmeyer. “We developed MATTERS as a mission-critical, but previously missing, tool to inform the efforts of the Council and like-minded organizations and individuals.”
 
Council President Christopher Anderson noted that the driving force behind the development of MATTERS and the Council’s sponsorship of New England Tech Vets—a national employer solution launched in 2014 that connects area employers with the largest database of US Veterans in the nation— was outgoing Council Chairman Pete Nicholas, Co-Founder and Chairman of Boston Scientific. “Pete’s vision and determination has been a catalyst for positive change for decades. During his two years as Council Chairman, Pete has reenergized the technology community in Massachusetts around the Council’s competiveness mission.”
 
In addition to electing Bill Achtmeyer and Aron Ain (CEO, Kronos) as Chairman and Vice Chairman respectively, Council members relected Ellen Lord, President, Textron Systems; Jim Boyer, Executive Professor, D’Amore-McKimm School of Business, Northeastern University; and Mike Kendall, Partner, Goodwin Procter as Council officers. Members also elected 8 new Board members at the Annual Meeting:
 
Udit Batra, President & CEO, EMD Millipore Corp.
John Corcoran, President, Trinity Partners
Ken Gabriel, President & CEO, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc. Jonathan A. Kraft, President, The Kraft Group
Gloria Larson, President Bentley University
Robert Maginn, Jr., Chairman & CEO, Jenzabar
Mark Stoever, Chief Operating Officer, Monster Worldwide
Robert Ward, President & CEO, Radius Health Inc.
 

About the Massachusetts High Technology Council www.mhtc.org
 
The Massachusetts High Technology Council is the oldest and only cross-sector association of technology, professional services, and higher education CEOs and senior executives in Massachusetts. As advocates for public policies and programs that create and maintain a healthy and competitive business climate, the Council has lead winning strategies for 38 years. In addition to its mission focus on cost competitiveness and talent development, the Council also works to preserve and strengthen federal defense assets in Massachusetts and support a robust and productive interaction among those assets and the public and private technology sectors across New England. 
 
 
 

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At a time when intelligence officials say cybersecurity now trumps terrorism as the No. 1 threat to the United States, and with 50 percent of the Department of Defense's (DoD) technical workforce nearing retirement, the need for cyber talent has never been more urgent. To close the gap, the federal government is ramping up recruiting efforts, with the goal of adding more than 6,000 technical specialists by 2016. But the reality is that cyber talent is in high demand, is difficult to find, and is even more difficult to attract.

For the U.S. federal government to effectively build its cyber workforce of the future, agencies must consider adopting new approaches and technologies to streamline critical aspects of recruiting, hiring, workforce planning, and training.

The challenge ahead
At the same time President Obama was outlining his cyber security platform last month, the Twitter and YouTube accounts of U.S. Central Command were hacked. With the increasing digitization of our society and the massive amounts of personal and sensitive information circling the globe every nanosecond, it is all too clear that strong cybersecurity is vital to keeping government, private sector, employer and citizen information safe.

The federal government faces a tough road ahead competing with the private sector recruiting and retaining cyber professionals. While the federal government's mission will always be a compelling draw for talent, the private sector's hiring agility, higher compensation packages and career development opportunities will pose a challenge to federal hiring. So how then should the government attract and secure these essential workers?

Step 1: Determine what you have
Before being able to accurately predict the federal cyber talent that is needed, whether it's 200 Incident Responders or 100 Disaster Recovery Analysts, government agencies must first understand which competencies their workforce already possesses.

According to a recent study from Government Business Council (GBC) and Monster Government Solutions, this critical assessment step is being skipped more and more frequently. In fact, according to the study, federal agencies report that they tend to rely on informal processes and incomplete data when conducting workforce planning--and 34 percent of the federal employees surveyed stated that their agencies do not gather data on competencies at all. Not surprisingly, the study also revealed that 80 percent of managers agreed or strongly agreed that up-to-date information on competencies would improve their ability to manage personnel, including staff changes and reductions. So making assessments of existing competencies would be a good place for the federal government to start.

Once information on existing workforce competencies has been gathered, federal government agencies can begin to more accurately assess existing competency gaps and develop a recruitment strategy that meets hiring objectives and is cost-effective.

Step 2: Finding "passive" cyber talent
One of the major challenges in recruiting highly sought after technical talent is that they are often well-employed, and aren't necessarily actively applying for new positions--the definition of the "passive" job seeker. With so much competition from the private sector, federal government agencies should take a more proactive approach to finding the next generation of cyber experts.

Recruiters are increasingly going beyond the resume to locate top technical talent, whether it's engaging with candidates within popular online IT communities or evaluating talent based on the thought-leadership--presentations, blog posts--that they've made available online. Today's recruiting tools leverage analytics to quickly sift through mountains of online data to deliver a far more complete picture of the best available cybersecurity professionals.

Step 3: Keep your cyber experts
When recruiting any future employee, it is important that federal government agencies ensure those candidates understand the organization's mission and the potential impact their work can have for the nation's greater good. Ensuring that cyber professionals know and understand the critical nature of their work will not only help to attract the optimal candidate, but will also serve as an incentive of sorts to potential hires. The mission of our nation's security is vital, and being a part of that mission is something current and potential federal employees can be proud of.

The second thing that can help the federal government obtain and retain cyber professionals is to offer a more comprehensive view of the incentive compensation package during the hiring process. Ensuring candidates understand not only the public service they are providing, but also the retirement, healthcare and vacation plans they will receive, along with other incentives like training is important. Because the market for cyber talent is increasingly competitive, articulating why certain jobs are impactful and touting benefits may better ensure the best candidates take notice.

Building our cyber workforce
As Lt. Gen. McLaughlin further stated in the fall of 2014, the U.S. is behind other nations in producing high school and college graduates with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math. Educating our youth remains a critical step in ensuring we produce and foster this important population, and while working to obtain the very best cyber professionals is of absolute importance, so is ensuring that we continue to advocate for and develop the cyber workforce in the U.S.

While initiatives like the U.S. Cyber Challenge (USCC), with whom Monster is a partner, are currently working to address this education gap by hosting camps and competitions that identify, attract, recruit and place the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, the road ahead for creating and developing our nation's cyber workforce pipeline is as important as it is challenging.
By implementing best practices and continuing to advocate for public and private partnerships that move the needle on cyber talent, we can help the federal government build the strongest and most viable cybersecurity workforce in the world.

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Partnership with USTechVets.org connects veterans to companies in the U. S. technology sector

Las Vegas, Nev., January 9, 2015 — Today at the 2015 International CES®, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) ® and U. S. Tech Vets celebrated the one-year anniversary of the launch of USTechVets.org, an online community to connect the one million U. S. service members who are transitioning back into civilian life with employment opportunities in the technology industry. Originally launched at the 2014 International CES by CEA, the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) and Monster, USTechVets.org facilitates veterans' transition to civilian careers within the technology industry and connects technology employers with qualified veteran candidates.
 
USTechVets.org is the lead site in the TechVets network, which began in August 2013 with NoVaTechVets.org and now includes NewEnglandTechVets.org, which launched in July 2014. The site, powered by Monster and Military.com, features free tools for transitioning military personnel, veterans and their family members, including an award-winning military skills translator to match each veteran’s skills, training and collateral duties to civilian jobs; a searchable database of jobs in the technology sector; and educational resources to help veterans develop skills to thrive in a private sector career. Employer members of participating associations can post their jobs to the site for free and get free access to Monster’s database of more than 970,000 veteran resumes.
 
“Our veterans bring valuable experience and a unique skill set to the job, ” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. “These men and women are tenacious problem solvers, and can be an incredible competitive advantage in the marketplace for employers. We were so proud to join with other leading national technology trade associations to launch USTechVets.org, and are very excited about such strong growth in just the first year. ”
 
During 2014, the TechVets network provided access to veteran friendly jobs and resources to over 50,000 visitors. CEA and other participating technology association member companies have posted over 20,000 veteran friendly tech jobs to the TechVets network during 2014. In addition, TechVets employers conducted over 21,000 searches of the TechVets veteran resume database, which boasts over 970,000 veteran resumes, to find and hire veterans.
 
“Enabling employers and job seekers to ‘find better’ is the core of what we do at Monster, and we are uniquely successful in doing this for the Veteran talent community, ” said Steve Cooker, executive vice president at Monster Worldwide. “All TechVets network sites include Monster’s Power Resume Search with its award winning 6Sense® semantic search technology to match Veterans with jobs. This allows TechVets member employers to pinpoint the veteran candidate with the right skills and experience for their job, more effectively successfully than any other Veteran employment resource today. ”
 
“Veterans are a tremendously talented, technically-savvy talent pool. Our member companies understand that hiring, retaining and training veterans can give them a competitive edge. ” said NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg. “NVTC is delighted to continue this partnership with CEA and Monster and hope to increase participation in U. S. Tech Vets over the coming months. ”
 
Several national technology associations have joined CEA and NVTC in USTechVets.org, including the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA), Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), CompTIA, Electronic Security Association (ESA), National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Professional Services Council (PSC), Security Industry Association (SIA), Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and Wireless Infrastructure Association (PCIA). These associations’ member companies are eligible to post jobs and search veteran resumes through the site for free.
 
For more information about U.S. Tech Vets, visit www.ustechvets.org.
 
 
About CEA: The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the technology trade association representing the $223 billion U. S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative and regulatory advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org, www.DeclareInnovation.com and through social media:
 
About Monster Worldwide:
Monster Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: MWW), is a global leader in successfully connecting job opportunities and people. Monster uses the world's most advanced technology to help people Find Better, matching job seekers to opportunities via digital, social and mobile solutions including monster.com®, our flagship website, and employers to the best talent using a vast array of products and services. As an Internet pioneer, more than 200 million people have registered on the Monster Worldwide network. Today, with operations in more than 40 countries, Monster provides the broadest, most sophisticated job seeking, career management, recruitment and talent management capabilities globally. For more information visit monster.com/about.
 
About NVTC:
The Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC) is the membership and trade association for the technology community in Northern Virginia. As the largest technology council in the nation, NVTC serves about 1,000 companies and organizations, including businesses from all sectors of the technology industry, service providers, universities, foreign embassies, non-profit organizations and government agencies. Through its member companies, NVTC represents about 300,000 employees in the region. NVTC is recognized as the nation's leader in providing its technology community with networking and educational events; specialized services and benefits; public policy advocacy; branding of its region as a major global technology center; initiatives in targeted business sectors and in the international, entrepreneurship, workforce and education arenas; the Equal Footing Foundation, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit charity that serves local area youth; and The Entrepreneur Center @NVTC, which mentors new technology entrepreneurs. Visit NVTC at www.nvtc.org.
 
 
 
 
 
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