Technology executives like to complain of the lack of qualified computer technology talent to fill open jobs. Speaking at Thursday’s annual Washington Innovation Summit, for example, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith spoke woefully of the 6,000 high-skill jobs unfilled at his company alone. This time, however, the leaders say they are building a coalition capableof beginning to address some of those issues.
Bill Richter, president of EMC Isilon Storage Division, announced the formation of a special alliance of Washington tech companies focused on helping the state’s tech industry to stay competitive. The effort, which would include initiatives to promote education, included such founding members as Amazon, AT&T, Big Fish Games, Concur, INRIX, Isilon Storage Division/EMC, Microsoft, Synapse Product Development and the Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA).
Richter said the coalition would draw attention to the important role played by the state’s technology sector. “We need to get attention and get our voice heard,” he said. “If we do this right, then technology will be the first thing people will wake up with.” It's unclear however what specific educational initiatives the group will promote.
Washington Governor-elect Jay Inslee made a brief stop at the conference, and made a plea for the tech industry and others to join hands with the state, providing public service assistance as well as expertise to the financially strapped state government. After Inslee’s speech, Richter was seen talking to Inslee and promising, “I’ll call you,” followed by a friendly handshake.