LMU Marketing and Communications hosted the first State of Tech Talent Today conference, in partnership with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Bixel Exchange. The event attracted about 120 people to Loyola Marymount University’s Playa Vista Campus on Sept. 11, 2018. Bixel Exchange, the chamber’s center for innovation and technology, brought together the tech and private sectors, educators, elected officials, nonprofits, and students, to explore the present and future of tech in L.A.
“LMU is proud to host this inaugural State of Tech event at our Playa Vista Campus,” said Grace Yao, director of public affairs for the university. “Their partnership with tech companies to ensure a diverse workforce resonates deeply with LMU’s mission of promoting education and social justice.”
The afternoon of discussions, including one featuring California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, focused on the role of mentorships in directing young people into tech careers.
“Each speaker emphasized that today’s workforce requires universities to help connect student talent to the employer pipeline, especially within the tech field,” said Branden Grimmett, associate provost for career and professional development at LMU. “Panelists cited critical thinking and creativity as two highly desirable skills sought by companies such as LinkedIn, Nike, and others.”
Bixel Exchange’s mission, per its website, is to connect the city’s “I wish I’d known” tech entrepreneurs with “been-there, done-that” professionals, savvy business owners, and start-up resources. The exchange focuses on the rapidly evolving segments of the high-tech ecosystem, including adtech, clean tech, digital media, gaming, mobile and social media.
Universities have a role to play, too. “Career and Professional Development at LMU helps connect employers not only with students, but also with faculty to ensure the curriculum is fresh and career-relevant,” said Grimmett. “In fact, next month we will bring 25 students and one faculty member to the Bay Area, where alumni working at Airbnb, Google, Salesforce, and Uber will host our Fall Career Trek.”
In 2017, as part of the L.A. Tech Talent Pipeline partnership with L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Mayor’s Tech Council, Bixel Exchange launched the L.A. Tech Talent Challenge, an internship program that reached its goal of placing 100 low-income youth in paid tech internships. The program connects underrepresented young Angelenos to stable and lucrative careers in the rapidly growing L.A. tech industry.