Uli and I are taking our pilgrimage to my stomping grounds, Burlington, Vermont, next week to attend one of our favorite yearly networking events, Vermont Tech Jam 2016. Even the 4 hour ride from Portland is something to look forward to, given the foliage season in full bloom. We get to see Mount Washington, Mount Mansfield and Camels hump in a full array of color. Entering into our 3rd year of attendance, we know what to expect and feel fortunate to be a part of a well organized and vibrant event. This year marks their 10th anniversary. What we really enjoy is the wide appeal to various age and interest groups. It all centers on the technology, local communities/ municipalities, companies that leverage technology (especially IT) , schools and job seekers. It is a job expo but there are plenty of displays and demonstrations that are intended to attract students as well as prospective employees. Like Portland’s Startup and Create Week, Burlington is starting the week off with their 1st Innovation week. A sold out 24 hour hackathon kicks the week off. Events run from Saturday to Saturday with themes focused on creativity, inspiration, learning/STEM awareness and entrepreneurial mindset. Check out their full event schedule http://bit.ly/vttek1.
Here are a few of the Tech Jam’s featured events:
- Business Expo with technology based Companies (IT, Biotech, healthcare, aerospace, energy)
- Demonstrations with software development and robotics (meet Bina48)
- Colleges + training programs – Champlain College St Michael’s College University of Vermont
- How to get hired panels – sharing tips with job seekers
- Champlain College hosting a mini-maker fair. Teachers & students will display educational projects that spark kid’s interest in STEM
- Innovation + Startup awards to be presented
- Beer and Gear – Social networking mixer with virtual reality games for tech professionals.
The event has earned a robust following and received high regards from the community. Mayor Miro Weinberger, a strong supporter, has been the keynote speaker.
The Tech Jam has morphed into similar initiatives at both the local and federal level.
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In 2014 Burlington was designated as a Techhub on a national level. Federal dollars were given to build up a gigabit infrastructure, providing symmetric connection speeds 100x faster than the national average. The list of accomplishments / beneficiaries are extensive, much of which is centered on the universities, libraries and healthcare applications.
This past March the White House designated Burlington Techhire City. The City of Burlington and BTV Ignite, a multi-institution tech partnership, has rallied broad support from local workforce intermediaries, education and training providers, employers and employer associations to improve career pathways for tech jobs. In short, Burlington’s public-private collaborative will train and place 75 tech workers in 2016 and seek to train and place 400 tech workers through 2020.
With all the fan-fair, attention and enthusiasm in motion, it’s easy to see how the region is beaming with pride for their designations and technological competitive edge. Burlington will never be Silicon Valley but their progress is merit-worthy and their dedication in achieving national recognition as a technology hub is impressive.
We see the many benefits of these events and we endorse the prospect of promoting the same initiative.