Kelly and I, along with long time colleagues and friends, Karen and Jeffrey Pearl, co-founded a Voice over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) company in 2006…we launched when VoIP was very new and completely unrecognized as a business and cost advantage. We built the company for 6 years, made the Inc500 list 2 years, in the top 10 ‘Best Companies to Work’ for 4 years, and ultimately Denver’s ‘Fastest Growing Company’ in 2010.
While we have a lot to be proud of – the reality is that it was a struggle to find the critical talent with tech skills necessary to grow and expand the company. Any company with technical needs will tell you: high-tech talent: programmers, IP networking specialists, the security specialists, and the technically-savvy sales people are extremely difficult to identify, recruit, hire and to retain for the long term.
I appreciate the comments of Kelly Brough, president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce: “…filling the talent pipeline is critical, and should start at the elementary-school level” in a recent Denver Business Journal article titled “Planting The STEM Early”. The article went on to confirm that 74% of our jobs in the next 5 years will require post-secondary STEM education.
Here’s the ironic twist – the increasing cost of a college education excludes more and more students every year. Silicon STEM wants to improve those stats.