Podcast: New York Tech President and Trustee Discuss IT Talent

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Podcast: New York Tech President and Trustee Discuss IT Talent

March 24, 2022

New York Tech President Hank Foley, Ph.D., and Santhosh Keshavan, executive vice president and chief information officer (CIO) at Voya Financial and a member of New York Tech’s Board of Trustees, recently teamed up on a podcast to discuss the needs and increasing demands for information technology (IT) skills in the workforce.

CIO Classified is a podcast featuring conversations with leading CIOs about their most pressing challenges and how they solve them. A recent episode features President Foley and Keshavan, who together brought unique perspectives to address the topic, including educating the next generation of skilled tech professionals and the challenges and opportunities that come with preparing students for an ever-evolving IT landscape.

Conversation Highlights

Host Ian Faison kicked off the discussion with how to populate the talent pipeline. According to Keshavan, there has always been a war for tech talent, and that has only intensified with the pandemic. One strategy that President Foley offered to help keep the pipeline full is to train people with other backgrounds in IT skills through micro credentials and other initiatives, in addition to educating those pursuing traditional IT and computer science degree programs.

Both executives agree that an effective way to develop IT skills needed for future innovation is through partnerships. Keshavan noted that internships and co-op opportunities are some of the ways that corporations and academic institutions can connect to build the talent pipeline. Thanks to generous funding from the Voya Foundation for nearly the past decade, President Foley highlighted how New York Tech has implemented several initiatives on behalf of its students, including the creation of a simulated trading floor on the New York City campus, as well as out in the community at large, by increasing diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM) fields. The “Diversifying STEAM Leadership” initiative is a program to help public school students and teachers in minority and underrepresented Long Island and New York City communities experience hands-on STEAM-based learning opportunities.

“Partnerships also allow us to attack the problem of the refresh rate” since technology changes so quickly, President Foley said. “We need guidance and input from industry and alumni” to inform what we teach, based on workplace needs, he added.

Keshavan shared that technology allowed businesses to be productive from anywhere during the pandemic, but that has now created an expectation for seamless “hyper-personalization” when accessing systems, software, and apps that connect people with others, as well as with data and information. In terms of students’ tech expectations, Foley shared how New York Tech is “teaming up” with tech leaders like Red Hat and Zscaler to give students access to real-world training and certifications before they even graduate. He also emphasized New York Tech’s focus on continually enhancing the student experience, with a nod to the recently introduced Student Service HUB.

In closing, the host asked President Foley how CIOs can best engage with New York Tech. President Foley encouraged them to come to campus to talk to New York Tech students. “We want those kinds of connections. We cherish them,” he said.

Listen to the entire episode