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Techtonic group builds its own labor supply

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    Assignment ID: FG133135943

    MANAGING TALENT:

    Techtonic Group Builds Its Own Labor Supply

    Techtonic Group, a software development company based in Boulder, Colorado, originally met its demand for app developers by offshoring the work. Founder and CEO Heather Terenzio said they arranged to have the work done in Armenia, and she flew there often to oversee the work. Originally, the setup seemed like a practical way to keep costs down, but eventually, salaries in the region began to rise, and the distance made the work hard to control.

    After several years of increasing difficulty, Terenzio decided Techtonic needed a different way to meet its talent needs. The solution came to her when she was visiting a Boulder vocational school to talk about technology careers. A young man from the catering team approached her and described how, in spite of having no education beyond a GED, he had taught himself coding. She realized that for the same amount of training and supervision as she was devoting to the workforce in Armenia, she could hire average coders in the United States and develop them into excellent employees.

    Terenzio took the young man’s pitch seriously and hired him. He learned quickly and got along with his co-workers. Soon Techtronic was wondering if they could plan a system to recruit nontraditional job candidates.

    The solution they introduced was a six-week training program called Techtonic Academy. Through social media and Craigslist, the program recruits a diverse group of would-be software developers to learn the basics. The program emphasizes hiring at-risk youth, minorities, women, and military veterans-groups that traditional recruiting channels often overlook. Graduates can apply for an eight-month paid apprenticeship at Techtonic or for other jobs in the area. Techtonic hires most of them. The program is free, and the number of applicants far exceeds the space. Trainers can observe which trainees excel in problem-solving skills, which helps Techtonic bring onboard those with the most potential. Now employees who had been apprentices in the early years of the program are mentoring the newer apprentices, creating a career path they value.

    Terenzio was so pleased with the results of Techtonic Academy that she applied for and received a state government grant to expand the program to more cities. More recently, the Markle Foundation funded the Skillful State Network, which is using Techtonic Academy as a model to expand to other states.

    Questions

    1) Briefly describe the labor supply and demand facing Techtonic Group.

    2) What basic options did Techtonic have for addressing a labor shortage? What is your evaluation of the approach Techtonic established?

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