24 May 2013
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has all the tools it needs to compete with major tech cities like San Francisco and New York City in the race to becoming the world’s leading hub of technology: The state is already home to MIT, one of the most prestigious tech schools in the world; the tech industry accounts for 20% of the state’s GDP and is comprised of over 10,000 companies that employ over 180,000 workers; for every 100 tech jobs, another 163 new jobs are being created in MA; and The Boston Globe’s recently released Globe 100 list of top performing public companies revealed that tech firms are the guiding stars of the Massachusetts economy. At this point, it’s all about using these tools strategically. To ensure the State’s tech industry does become a leading center of technology and can compete with other hubs of innovation, like New York and Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to build NYC into an industry leader, there are several projects in Massachusetts with the same goals: to invest in more innovation, promote the local tech industry as a whole, and keep jobs in the state. The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a relationship built on collaboration between the Massachusetts legislative, tech, and educational communities, has developed 3 institutes that are each comprised of separate projects and initiatives that aim to give tech students and professionals new opportunities to develop and advance their careers. Here is a selection of unique institutes and initiatives that will be especially beneficial for tech professionals in the Greater Boston Area: Innovation Institute: The Innovation Institute is one umbrella institute that has developed a series of initiatives with a common goal: to increase global competitiveness within key industry clusters of Massachusetts’s Innovation Economy and to identify opportunities to strengthen the state’s innovation system. To do this, members of the institute have established the: Tech Hub Collaborative: This initiative focuses on the state’s growing digital technology sector. To expand this sector, the executive committee has identified and addressed impediments to growth through policy, as well as pursued and launched new projects to advance digital tech in Mass. Thanks to their continuing efforts, professionals who work within digital technology, including, software, hardware, robotics, gaming, e-commerce, mobile technology, health IT, and interactive media can expect to see their field and opportunities grow locally, and won’t have to look elsewhere for career advancement. Research Center Investments: Through the Collaborative’ s University Match Fund, they hope to help research centers develop a capacity “for innovation that helps research outcomes translate into business opportunities.” Today, their investments have already helped connect research and development to business needs in order to support “technological commercialization.” These investments will ultimately help researchers, developers, and technology enterprises convert their research and data into new business ideas and tangible projects, which will in turn create new opportunities for a wide variety of tech professionals. These innovative Boston-based projects will also put both the city and state on the map as an industry leader, which could possibly attract companies from all over the world to set up offices in the Commonwealth, thus creating new opportunities for economic growth. Mass Tech Intern Partnership: Currently, Boston ranks #8 as the destination of Boston area college graduates because students do not feel there are enough opportunities in Boston that a) match their skill-set or b) they have enough experience for. The talent that has been cultivated in-state is taking their skills to cities like San Francisco and New York City; cities that they perceive as having more opportunities for them. This program, launched in mid-March, aims to address the issue by working with tech businesses, start-ups, and universities to directly connect students and recent graduates with paid internship opportunities. Pertaining to their focus, interns can be matched with companies that work in a wide variety of technology sectors. By giving students and graduates the opportunity to fill a real need and gain hands-on experience with top Massachusetts based firms, and by exposing firms to fresh talent, this program intends to bridge the gap between the number of talented tech professionals who are trained in-state and the number that actually stay. To learn more about this program, please visit: http://masstech.org/intern. Mass eHealth Institute: This institute provides health information technology services to healthcare providers and calls on tech professionals to implement these upgrades. As an increasing amount of Affordable Care Act mandates begin to go into effect, specifically provisions for Electronic Medical Records, this institution will increase its efforts to ensure all providers have access to health information technologies. This will not only ensure that the safety, quality, and efficiency of Massachusetts healthcare are all maximized but will also create new opportunities in the healthcare industry for IT professionals looking to develop new skills or diversify their industry experience.