This year’s virtual TechTalent event brought together Minnesota’s top industry leaders and changemakers to address our state’s talent concerns while sharing their resources and strategies to amend them.

To understand what we’re up against, the morning began with a State of Tech Talent Update followed by Ron Hetrick’s eye-opening keynote on the Demographic Drought. Solutions were quick to follow however, with a discussion around the positive work being done by the Tech Inclusion Alliance.



Access Ron Hetrick’s keynote presentation here: The Demographic Drought. 

Access presentations on the State of our State’s Tech Talent here:
Part 1, Erin Olson, RealTime Talent
Part 2, Katie McClelland, Minnesota Technology Association

And the presentation on the Tech Inclusion Alliance by Caroline Karanja, Minnesota Technology Association

More resources were shared during the Tech Training Partner Showcase, highlighting many of the hard-working organizations who are combating workforce shortages by making tech training available to people of all backgrounds.



From there, attendees had the option to move between speaker sessions, organized by pillars of the TechTalent conference: Inspire, Hire, Develop & Retain.

The Inspire Track

CS Education: How Do We Get Out of Last Place?
Minnesota is currently in last place related to access to computer science education at the high school level. In this session, we learn about the current state of CS education in MN, what other states are doing, and what steps we can take to get out of last place.

Katie McClelland • Director, Public Policy & Research, Minnesota Technology Association
Amy Roberts • Director of State Government Affairs,
And Andrea Wilson Vazquez • Director of Educator Training & School Partnerships, Code Savvy; CSforAll-MN Steering Committee Member

Access the presentation slides here.



Build to Last: Reflections from Diverse, Emerging Talent
Early career technology professionals reflect on what sparked their interest in tech, challenges on their journey to a tech career, and advice for local companies looking to hire their peers. Learn what inspired each of the panelists to get into tech and stay with it. Better understand future talent and what your company can do to retain them.

Bai Chang • Sr Service Now Business Analyst, ICF
Davon Goodwin • Software Engineer, Target Corporation
Jennifer Lee • Reporting & Analytics Intern, Kindeva Drug Delivery
With Facilitator Joel Crandall • Vice President of Programs, Genesys Works



Mapping Minnesota’s Emerging Tech Talent Programs
From that initial spark of interest in elementary school to preparing for that first job in tech, this session highlights the tech talent programs in our state.

Jenna Gilbert • Lead Program Manager, Tech Talent, Target Corporation
Lisa Schlosser • Technology Community Advocate
And Greg Larson • Sr. Director Product Engineering | Stores & Supply Chain, Target Corporation

Access the presentation slides here.


The Hire Track

Boomerang After the Great Resignation
People are leaving their jobs in droves. But are they really leaving the workforce entirely or is this “the great reshuffle,” especially in tech roles?

As several major events changed our world in the last two years, people are thinking about work differently and making choices. This panel shares insights on what they see happening in the talent market and what we might expect in the future. Will there be a boomerang of talent coming back to the workforce?

Heather Polivka • CEO & Advisor, Awesome People Leaders
Paul DeBettignies • Principal, Minnesota Headhunter, LLC
With facilitator: Hillary Spreizer • President, The Latitude Group



What Really Matters to Candidates
Candidates are more in control than ever before as demand has outpaced capacity of top talent. What attracts candidates to apply for your role? What sets your opportunity apart from others and convinces candidates to accept your offer? Is it compensation? Work/life balance? Alignment with their personal values? This panel discussion will bring a variety of perspectives
to help answer what really matters to candidates.

Barb Johnson • Director of Product Management, Thrivent
Renee Saint-Louis • VP of IT, Capstone Publishing
Rayna Taylor • Tech Transformation Specialist, Best Buy
With facilitator: Katherine Garvey • Director, Software Engineering, Medtronic



Tech Apprenticeships How Other States Are Creating Tech Talent Pipelines
Apprenticeships have long been used to build skills and experience in other disciplines. Other states are already taking advantage of this as a way to expand their tech workforce. This brings an opportunity to leverage a proven approach to build a more diverse tech talent pipeline in Minnesota. This session provides a view of what’s happening across the country and shares
more on how it works, with a deeper dive into one program that started in Washington and is now in several states including Wisconsin.

Katie McClelland • Director, Public Policy & Research, Minnesota Technology Association
And Jennifer Carlson • Co-Founder and Executive Director, Apprenti

Access the presentation slides:
Part 1, Katie McClelland, Minnesota Technology Association
Part 2, Jennifer Carlson, Apprenti



The Develop & Retain Track

7 Tips for Engaging Virtual Upskilling
When the pandemic forced C.H. Robinson’s 3-month onboarding program virtual, it had to pivot its entire teaching strategy. Now that the company established the ability to work in a hybrid environment, it will never go back.

It made dozens of mistakes, but these became new techniques to avoid “zoom fatigue” and keep participants as engaged as they were in-person.

Luke Schlangen • Lead Software Engineer and Instructor, C.H. Robinson

Access Luke’s presentation slides here


Mastering Talent Engagement: A Leaders Guide
At a time of high turnover and increasingly scarce talent, employee engagement and retention are critical. In this session, Digineer will share how it connects employees to its culture, the impact employee work has on its clients, and the resulting sense of personal and professional purpose gained by employees.

Employee engagement and retention begins with assessments during the interview process, expectation-setting during on-boarding, then ongoing “stay interviews” to support professional development goals, including opportunities to work on impactful client solutions.

Lucinda DuToit • VP Human Resources, Digineer

Access Lucinda’s presentation slides here


Multi-Generational Hybrid Teams
Over the past two years, dramatic movement of teams to remote and hybrid work environments has changed the standard operations of how teams engage with one another, exposing new opportunities and challenges in engaging multi-generational teams.

As employers embrace hybrid working in the emerging post-pandemic world, companies must acknowledge and manage the nuances of the needs and desires of talent across all generations and life stages—although studies have also shown that generations may have more in common than one might think.

Heidi Anderson • Marketing Content Transformation Manager, Shutterfly, Inc.
Sai Suchir Tyada • Junior Software Developer Intern, Best Buy Health
Jon Rouse • IT Operations Manager, End User Services, Xcel Energy
Ashley House-Mischke • Manager, Enterprise Services, Icario
With facilitator: Mary Kay Delvo • Strategist | Certified Coach | Certified Facilitator, INspiring SIGHT