The new year brings with it a lot of opportunities for the Rochester area. In order for us to capitalize on them, it is going to be essential to align our efforts to ensure that we work on decreasing the gap between jobs and our talent pool. That kind of change starts with addressing how we prepare our future talent pool and increasing awareness of how to meet those needs. Among the skills needed most are communication and technical skills.
These observations, by no means, are a scientific study; this is merely anecdotal. We have observed the technology that is flourishing in our area. However, how have we paired those job opportunities with training and growth in those areas? As companies continue to expand globally, language skills are an important part of this expansion. Many bilingual jobs remain unfilled due to the lack of bilingual writing skills. Another area where language skills are important is in health care. With so many changes in our health care, communicating these changes effectively to our diverse populations is going to be essential.
In technology, change is the norm. We need to look at solutions that allow for adapting to these changes. How do we capitalize on the opportunities? Collaboration among employers, higher education institution, K-12 schools and our community will be crucial in order to hone the relevant skills needed to survive.
Let’s take a look at photonics. In 2012, a Laser Focus World article noted Rochester is a powerhouse in photonics, driven by the University of Rochester’s "large photonics student population and a strong industrial affiliates program … (the university) also happens to boast the first optics program in the United States." The article also acknowledged a 90,000 net jobs growth driven by entrepreneurs who had been laid off by Eastman Kodak Co. Rochester Institute of Technology and Monroe Community College also have contributed to the growth in the intellectual capital in this area. With Rochester being a strong player in this industry, how can we sustain this growth? Collaboration and training will be a major part of this solution.
Iveth M. Reynolds is chief executive officer of Tri-Mar Consulting and founder of the Rochester chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA).