Tech giants like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Netflix and Meta have laid off a total of more than 100,000 employees in 2023.
Yet, Minnesota alone had 8,460 tech job postings in February but not enough skilled workers to fill them, according to reports from the Minnesota Technology Association.
Also, for the third year in a row, Minnesota is dead last in the country when it comes to teaching K-12 students computer science in public schools.
MPR News host Angela Davis spoke with Sharon Kennedy Vickers, CEO of Software For Good and Full Stack Steering Committee member, and Joel Crandall, vice president of talent for the Minnesota Technology Association, about why giant companies are laying off so many workers, and what’s being done to address the gap between open tech jobs and a lack of skilled workers in our state.
Early exposure helps people pursue tech careers
“I think Minnesota has been a leader in the technology space and I think we need to reclaim that by starting with understanding and building a program at early stages for individuals, and we need our legislative members behind us in supporting that as well.
“I wasn’t necessarily drawn to technology as a young girl or even as I grew up in the rural south, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, so as you can imagine there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for tech during that time and in that place. My first computer science class was when I was a sophomore in high school, and I didn’t naturally gravitate towards that. I fell in love with tech after graduating with a degree in political science and African American studies. I was a single mom and I was looking for a career that would allow me to give my daughter the life that she deserved. And so at that time, personal computing was taking off and web development was taking off, so I went back to school and got a degree in computer science. And it was there that I fell in love with it, not so much with the coding and the lines of code, but what was really exciting for me was the ability to solve problems.
— Kennedy Vickers
Listen to the full conversation or read key moments from the conversation at MPR News.