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NEWTON, MASS., FEB. 25, 2015…..Gov. Charlie Baker warned the state’s high-tech executives on Wednesday that their edge in the national economy is under attack from other states, hinting that he will put forward ideas soon to help ensure a strong supply of workforce talent to keep their businesses growing.
 
Baker returned to Massachusetts this week after spending the weekend in Washington D.C. at the National Governors Association winter meeting where he dined at the White House on Sunday night at a table with President Barack Obama, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
 
“Colorado is coming on and coming on strong,” Baker told a banquet hall full of executives at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts High Technology Council at the Newton Marriott. “I saw Governor Hickenlooper from Colorado when I was at the NGA meeting and he couldn’t help but make this point to me many, many times over the course of several days. I need a really good rejoinder on that one, folks.”
 
Baker said Virginia, Maryland and New York City, under initiatives put in place by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have all made progress building strong tech sectors. “And our high cost of doing business continues to be a drag on our ability to be successful,” Baker said.
 
While in Washington, Baker said he participated in a roundtable discussion with other governors who were all asked the most significant challenge to economic development in their states.
 
“You will probably not be surprised to hear the overwhelming answer from most governors as they worked their way around the room was skill building and the lack of connectivity between skills people have the and jobs that are available,” Baker said, adding that he named “snow” as his biggest challenge so far.
 
Lawmakers and the governor’s office have for years tried to find ways to partner with businesses to help educate and train a new workforce for jobs in the technology, life science and advanced manufacturing fields where employers have reported job openings that they are unable to fill because of the lack of a qualified applicant pool.
 
“This is a serious issue and one that we certainly plan to spend a significant amount of time on. We’ll have more to say about that over the course of the next couple weeks as we roll out a couple of initiatives on that,” Baker said.
 
While aides to Baker declined to discuss the details of those initiatives, one top advisor suggested Baker’s strategy will include initiatives incorporated into his fiscal 2016 budget proposal due next Wednesday, as well as other efforts.
 
Baker said Massachusetts continues to have “probably the broadest tech innovation sector employment base” in the country, including California, North Carolina and New Jersey. With significant footholds in nine of the 11 “key innovation clusters,” Baker credited the innovation and technology industries in Massachusetts with producing $150 billion in economic output annually and accounting for a fifth of the state’s workforce.
 
Discussing his previous work on the board of Athena HeaLth Care in Watertown, Baker said the state has done well to capitalize on the strength of its health care and research institutions by expanding into “big data,” personalized medicine and electronic medical records.
 
“I can’t think of a state in a better position to be hugely successful in leading the charge on all those initiatives than the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” he said.
 
At the event, the High Tech Council formally launched its new Massachusetts’ Technology, Talent and Economic Reporting System (MATTERS), a free online tool that will be accessible to the public.
 
The website allows users to measure Massachusetts against other states using various sources of data to evaluate talent and business competitiveness, and developers said they want it to give policymakers, advocates and tech leaders access to information to inform decisions.
 
According to some measures, MATTERS showed that Massachusetts ranks 47th in the country for ease of finding technology talent, which could have something to do with the high cost of living, tax burden, energy prices or other factors.
 
Baker said he looked forward to using MATTERS and engaging with the industry to keep Massachusetts at the leading edge of the sector.
“I think it will help us to mount an offensive on the place we can go on attack and it also gives us what we need to frame those places where we need to be better and stronger,” Baker said.


 

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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.