Most great sports teams create playbooks to achieve their goals. Why not the tech industry?

That’s the thinking behind the Washington Technology Industry Association‘s (WTIA) FullConTech Playbook. The second annual FullConTech, which was held in October at the Microsoft Conference Center in Redmond, convened approximately 300 representatives from government, education, and technology sectors to identify key challenges facing the technology industry and identify ways each of these sectors might work together to solve these problems.

Photo courtesy WTIA via Facebook.

Photo courtesy WTIA via Facebook.

WTIA’s playbook for 2017 includes seven key issues facing the industry:

  • How can we expand existing efforts to develop more potential talent?
  • What can we do to better align community college and other non-four-year programs with hiring needs so that we expand our talent pool?
  • What new public-private collaborations could we create to help grow regional talent? And/or are there existing collaborations we could expand?
  • How do we attract tech companies to foster innovative start-ups in the region?
  • Are there resources individual companies can partner with to bring outside talent development programs into their businesses?
  • How can we more effectively bring onboard junior hires and quickly make them productive?
  • How do we retain talent and with an emphasis on diversity?

“The reason it is important is because it’s only one time of the year that those three groups get together to sort the wheat from the chaff, come to an agreement on what a good set of likely solutions would be, define those in a way that is clear and in writing and then shared among the group, and then decide which of those things are the highest priority,” said WTIA CEO, Michael Schutzler.

The playbook’s recurring theme is talent — how to develop, expand, grow, attract, and diversify it.

“If there’s any one thing that unites large companies and small companies in the tech industry, it is that we create jobs about 10 times faster than the state produces talent qualified to take the jobs,” Schutzler said. “That makes us the number one recruiter of talent in the country. So talent is front and center for every tech company.”

Looking ahead, WTIA plans to work with volunteer stakeholders over the next couple of months to further hone the list and identify tech sector leaders who can partner with WTIA and act on the challenges and solutions outlined in the playbook.