The Twin Cities has a growing technology sector that is getting more diverse, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and rankings of the local tech-business cluster by the computer industry, Forbes and other publications.
As testimony to that, the national “Blacks in Technology Conference” will be in the Twin Cities Oct. 11-13 (www.bitcon.com). The inaugural conference, which is expected to draw 1,000, will dovetail with the annual “Twin Cities Startup Week, the October, tech-and-entrepeneur bevy of events that includes talks, tours, networking, beer and the finals of the Minnesota Cup entrepreneurial competition.
"There is a desire in the Twin Cities to be inclusive of communities of color within the tech space to ensure we build an inclusive tech economy," Sharon Kennedy Vickers, co-founder of Twin Cities Chapter of Blacks in Technology, told Minnesota Public Radio recently.
"I also wanted to dispel the myth that Silicon Valley is the only place for thriving tech companies. I believe the Twin Cities has a vibrant tech startup community as well as a long history of technology companies, said Kennedy Vickers, a veteran IT manager who oversees IT for the City of St. Paul.
Blacks in Technology has a dozen-plus chapters, and 725 members in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
The Twin Cities added 3,300 technology jobs last year, up 1.6 percent to 199,200. We are one of the nations’ 15-largest tech tech-employment hubs, according to the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA).
These jobs typically pay seasoned workers $75,000 to $100,000 or more a year.
However, there are still thousands of unfilled IT jobs in the Twin Cities.
I’ve reported in recent years about local employers who are outsourcing some work, from Iowa to Bangladesh, as well as tapping into a new vein of computer-related workers through nontraditional programs that get folks ready for entry-level IT work without a four-year computer science degree: http://strib.mn/2JbVcSF.
An encouraging trend: computer jobs over the last five years increasingly are being filled by women and minorities, according to state statistics. And minority employment is growing twice as fast as the overall market for workers in IT and business services.