California's Alternative Featured August 9, 2018 BY Erika Kosina

NCTC Working with Local Tech Companies to Attract a New Generation of Employees

This post was first published in The Union on August 9, 2018.

Our rural county needs more young families in order to thrive. And, Nevada County tech businesses need a robust pipeline of qualified workers. Local tech companies are working with the Nevada County Tech Connection (NCTC) to bring more young tech employees to the region and solve both of those problems.

Many local tech companies have successfully recruited interns at college career fairs. This year’s crop of interns come from Chico State, Sacramento State, and even Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. But when interns arrive here, they often feel isolated, and unaware of the great activities and events Nevada County has to offer.

• Autometrix sponsored a bowling event at Prosperity Lanes for local tech interns to socialize and find out what is happening at other local tech companies.

Autometrix sponsored a bowling event at Prosperity Lanes for local tech interns to socialize and find out what is happening at other local tech companies.

Creating a Positive Experience in Nevada County

Last summer, members of NCTC’s Talent Development team started a program to change that, and connect local tech interns through a series of social events hosted by local tech companies.  The interns might play volley ball, mini golf, disc golf, or go bowling, followed by an optional evening event such as the Grass Valley Thursday Night Market or the Nevada County Fair. The goal of the program was to ensure that the interns not only learn about all of the tech job opportunities in our region, but that they have a positive experience during their time in Nevada County with the hope that they will move back here after they graduate.

The program, now in its second season, has already shown signs of success. Local video broadcast solutions company AJA recruited four interns last summer, offered full-time jobs to three, and all three accepted. Fabric cutting machine manufacturer Autometrix previously struggled to find interns, but this year, students were calling them and asking about internships.

Decker Krogh will spend his third summer as an intern at Autometrix this year.

Decker Krogh will spend his third summer as an intern at Autometrix this year.

Getting Interns to Stay After Graduation

Bob Hudelson, who coordinates AJA’s internship program, is happy with the program’s success, but feels there is more to do. “The internship experience has been great for the students,” he said, “but how do we ensure that their after work and weekend experience is just as positive so that they’ll want to start their careers in Nevada County?” In an effort to connect with more potential interns and employees, AJA brings their summer interns to colleges in the Fall to speak with their peers about their experience in Nevada County. “They can talk not just about their jobs, but about all the great things they did in Nevada County,” said Hudelson.

It’s a slow process, but NCTC’s Talent Development Team and the tech companies are hoping that with this type of outreach and connection, word will start to spread among younger people about what a great place Nevada County is to live, and about the job opportunities that our tech ecosystem provides. Does your business recruit or want to recruit interns? Get involved with NCTC’s Talent Development Team. Contact us at info@nctechconnection.org.