Shumlin says tech competition will bring jobs
By WILSON RING
The Associated Press | October 18,2012
WINOOSKI — A competition of computer programmers and a fair to connect trained job seekers with high-tech openings are helping Vermont meet the needs of businesses seeking qualified employees and, in turn, expand the number of well-paying high technology jobs being offered in the state, the governor said Wednesday.
Gov. Peter Shumlin was at the Winooski headquarters of the company, MyWebGrocer.com to highlight this weekend’s “Hackathon,” a competition in which more than 100 computer programmers will be given 24 hours to develop a computer application, website or other digital product that will benefit the state.
The event will be held at the Champlain Mill, the renovated former textile mill that is now home to a number of the state’s fast growing high technology companies.
On the weekend of Oct. 26-27, the mill will host the “Vermont Tech Jam,” a job fair where more than 70 of the state’s high technology businesses will be able to connect with tech-savvy job seekers.
“The reason that this creative enterprise is so important is that when you talk to employers around Vermont they’re telling a different story than they were just a few years ago,” Shumlin said.
“A few years ago the question was, are you going to do layoffs or can you make it?” he said. “Today the question for Vermont employers is, “Can we find enough people with the skills in technology, engineering, math (and) science to be able to meet and fill the jobs we have?
“We have to reach deep both within Vermont and outside of Vermont to meet the needs of these vibrant and growing enterprises. It’s a much better job to have than unemployment, but it is a problem we must solve together.”
MyWebGrocer.com says the hackathon, also sponsored by the Vermont business dealer.com and FairPoint Communications, will be the first such competition in the country to benefit a state.
The competition will begin Friday at 6 p.m. The competitors will be given access to data on topics such as public transit, population density and regional distribution of breweries. The goal is to create something useful. There will be $10,000 in prizes for the winners.
Shumlin also declared October “Tech Month” in Vermont.
He says the state’s burgeoning high technology business is a way to help the state attract highly educated young people, as well as draw back to the state people who left because they didn’t believe there were enough economic opportunities.
MyWebGrocer.com helps create software for the grocery industry.