In this week’s Candid Conversation we’re talking with J Dietenberger about talent attraction and retention in the technology industry. J has 25 years of experience in IT organizational development and project management consulting for international 500 companies. He currently helps students and emerging professionals create their personal brand through his talent acceleration program which focuses on STEM business innovation at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM).
He’s doing some amazing things in terms of talent development and aligning organizations with professionals. Here’s what J had to share with us.
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Skill acceleration for emerging professionals
J started the technology and innovation skills acceleration program at UWM six years ago. In that time it's grown from two tracks, primarily in the helpdesk and desktop support field, and up to 22 technology focused tracks in industries like data sciences, augmented reality, web design, UX/UI and business innovation. The program is in direct response to what the industry needs and what students are looking for.
J strives to remain diverse and inclusive in his work. “We’re reaching out to a broad swath of students to ensure that we're really bringing in talent across the entire diversity spectrum.”
The skills acceleration program focuses on fast-tracking three items for students: technical skill set, academic to career transition, and how to better communicate through innovation and entrepreneurship. It also boasts a 98% student satisfaction rate and an even more impressive 100% job hire rate.
Once students leave the program they are open to career opportunities in industries like business, marketing, human resources, manufacturing and AI. “Technology is such a strategic focus for so many organizations that the talent base can really go anywhere within the spectrum of open positions, especially with regard to STEM and innovation.”
Filling the talent pipeline
J touches on the importance of forming a personal brand as an emerging professional but he’s also an advocate that organizations have a strong professional brand to showcase to new talent. Especially in industries like manufacturing that still tend to uphold an outdated, non-diverse culture. Which to those with a modern outlook on the workforce says, “I'm going to be stuck in a cubicle farm ignored and not receiving any kind of skills acceleration or mentoring talent.”
J has found that in the organizations that focus on their brand and create one that speaks to the lifestyle and language of an emerging professional succeed in attracting new talent. Graduating students aren’t just looking for a job. They want a career path with room for growth at an organization that’s invested in their future.
How can manufacturers get involved?
Attracting the right talent starts with a corporate strategy that goes beyond being unique and competitive in the marketplace. It’s about focusing on diversity and inclusive policies and skill development in order to fill the need for a wide spectrum of people needed within an organization. Without it, you often see someone that starts and leaves the company very quickly.
“It's really about being able to look at the collective of the emerging and established professional and seeing how the organization can better itself by investing into that person and augmenting them and their career path — because it's ultimately going to be for the organization in longevity as well as the skill set that's going to advance them forward as a competitive force.”
Beyond talent attraction, it's about staying competitive in an international sphere in terms of technology, skillset, and opportunity. Creating strategic partnerships within the community and higher education also helps educators and companies work together to understand what is needed in terms of talent and skill.
Lastly, J recommends championing the power of Milwaukee and Wisconsin as a great place to live. The key is then tying this all together and creating awareness around your company culture strategy.
An exciting future for technology in Wisconsin
We're living in really exciting times, especially for our city and state and we’re thrilled to be a part of the manufacturing industry as it transforms to stay relevant in this new digital age.For more conversations that focus on the changing landscape of talent attraction and the manufacturing industry, visit our Candid Conversations page.