From the Director: A Commitment to the Tech Talent Pipeline

May 5, 2022 | By Telly Tucker


Tech talent seems to be the new buzzword among economic development organizations around the nation. In the era of the Great Resignation, everyone seems to be developing ways to try to attract the best and brightest individuals to their communities for work.

But that's where Arlington is unique. Our workforce is already the most highly educated in the nation; with about ¾ of adults having earned at least a bachelor’s degree, Arlington’s talent pool is abundant. We’re very fortunate. And we’re home to some truly incredible institutions. Just a few weeks ago, George Mason University officially broke ground on Fuse at Mason Square, home to the university’s Institute for Digital Innovation and graduate programs from GMU’s new School of Computing, as well as space to support digital innovation, active learning, research, business entrepreneurs and tech incubators. And next door in Alexandria, construction is well underway for the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, a graduate-level campus for computer science and computer engineering. And that’s just the beginning.

Where we do need to focus is collaborating with our incredible institutions of higher learning to ensure that those graduates are ready to step into the technology jobs available here – that they’re not just skilled, but also connected. That’s where that all-important tech ecosystem comes into play. In Arlington and throughout Virginia, that collaboration come through a variety of partnerships between the public and private sectors. For example, the Institute for Digital Innovation (IDIA) at GMU connects corporate and public sector partners with Mason’s world-class research and scholars to create opportunities for strategic research and development. The Virginia Tech Innovation Campus LINK works with industry partners to understand strategic needs and matches them with the university’s extensive network of assets. The Virginia Tech LINK+LICENSE+LAUNCH is dedicated to supporting all aspects of corporate partnerships from research collaborations, to corporate giving, to technology commercialization and startups.

Virginia has committed $2 billion to the tech talent pipeline with initiatives starting in elementary school and continuing through graduate education. We need to ensure that the innovation economy we’ve created here in Arlington continues to have the enthusiastic, skilled workforce necessary to build continued success in that economy.