Unique Designated 'Tech Recruiter' Will Attract Tech Talent

While the local tech industry gets a lot of buzz and looms large in the city's cultural awareness, growth in tech has been sluggish, so Bexar County and the tech organization TechBloc are taking an unprecedented step to try to jump start it, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

David Heard, who heads TechBloc, says the city ranks poorly in the one category that is more important than any other for tech firms which are considering relocating or expanding, and that is the availability of qualified, skilled employees.

"In 2015, Bexar County was ranked 40th in the nation for tech talent, behind cities like Oklahoma City and Cleveland," he said.

And he said in new statistics for 2016, the county's tech status slipped even more, to 44th in the nation, and falling well behind regional competitors Austin and Dallas.

So Commissioners have appropriated funding to, along with TechBloc, hire a full time dedicated tech recruiter.

Heard says the individual who is hired for the position will try to convince young tech employees to locate to San Antonio, as well as work with high schools and colleges to upgrade their tech training to make sure it is in line with what is needed in the marketplace.

Heard says this isn't just economic development, this is making sure the region has a secure economic future.

"Today, tech talent is clustering around a handful of areas around the country," he said.  "It is in those regions that you see growing numbers of tech jobs, corporate relocations, and hotbeds of start up creation."

Unlike other industries, tech firms concentrate very heavily on the availability of tech talent in a community before making relocation decisions, or deciding to start up a company in a certain location.

San Antonio has one natural advantage for attracting tech talent, which has helped make this area one of the top areas in the nation for cyber security.  The presence of the 24th Air Force CyberCommand and similar military units attracts Air Force personnel to San Antonio, and many of them decide to remain here as civilians.

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