Groundhog Day Lets Students 'Shadow' Professionals

Since the groundhog is seeing its shadow today, this is SA Works' 'Shadow Day,' where students get an opportunity to meet with leaders and employees of various companies to get a feel for life in the workforce, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

A big participant in Shadow Day is the local start-up computer security firm Jungle Disk.  CEO Brett Piatt says it is critical for the growing tech sector to be in touch with middle and high school students.

"If we're just worried about hiring the person with the right skills today and you are not doing pro actively yourself as a business owner and a CEO to fix it, you are not actively working on the solution, and we are working on the solution."

He praised SA Works and the local school districts for establishing programs like Cyber Patriot, to start young people on the path to tech jobs.

"We are graduating 20,000 kids out of high schools every years," he said.  "That means there are plenty of people graduating from high school who want to work.  We need to set them up for success."

Students met with company executives, young employees, and people like U.S. Rep Will Hurd (R-San Antonio) during Jungle Disk's Shadow Day event.

Piatt said it is also important for the City of San Antonio to take steps, which it is doing, to become an attractive destination for young college graduates.  He cited the Pearl area, as well as new restaurants, bars, and other attractions which have moved San Antonio from among the worst cities for retaining and attracting new graduates ten years ago to one of the best today.

He says unlike graduates in the seventies and eighties, who found a job and then went to where the job was, today's graduates find a place they want to live, and then find a job there, putting live before work.

"San Antonio overall is a city that has been making a big investment in doing the types of things that attract people who want to work for tech companies to the city," he said.

Piatt said college graduates are moving to San Antonio in greater numbers than at any time in the 14 years he has lived in the city.

He did say he would like to see the City and other officials move more quickly to create the attractive spaces for incoming tech workers.

But he says San Antonio is open for tech business.

"We're not attracting them fast enough yet, so come on in, we're still attracting them to San Antonio."

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