At Vertex, we’re mindful of a troubling skills gap, particularly in the U.S. where there’s a growing need to develop science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills in students of all ages. The latest figures from Manpower’s ongoing talent-shortage survey indicates that 39 percent of U.S. employers currently experience difficulty filling jobs – despite relatively high levels of unemployment. The number one reason for this difficulty? A lack of technical competencies.
So I decided to see if we could address the need in our own back yard. First, it must be noted that I am a proud Penn State alumni. In 2011 I was approached by the Director of Development for Penn State’s Information Science and Technology College, to see if I would be interested in playing an advisory role to the college. One thing led to another and relationships emerged that enabled Vertex to sponsor high level student teams focused on designing concepts applicable to some of the emerging trends that can impact tax technology and associated solutions. These initiatives also enable Vertex to identify promising next generation information technology professionals, while exploring and incubating cutting-edge tax-technology concepts.
So long story short, this is what led to the Vertex-PSU partnership with a goal of blending real-world business experience from Vertex with existing PSU course curriculum.
As an executive I really wanted to do something in my position to help others and decided to do something for my alma mater, which helped me when I was starting out in the work world. So far Penn State has offered three semester-long projects and we’ve been able to weave Vertex business into the fabric of Penn State’s IT curricula.
Courses have featured analyzing data through social networking, the discovery and maintenance of tax information via a Wikipedia-esque prototype (imagine a “Tax-ipedia”) and leveraging internal and external teams to build, market and sell applications on top of a software platform. If you are a “techie” at Penn State, this is a great opportunity to gain experience in the practical applications of IT, while still in school. I am proud of the successful collaboration between Vertex and Penn State.
Having just completed our third semester in our partnership with Penn State, Vertex believes this relationship is beneficial for a number of reasons, but is surely an exciting first step in addressing the need for young IT talent.
Please remember that the Tax Matters provides information for educational purposes, not specific tax or legal advice. Always consult a qualified tax or legal advisor before taking any action based on this information.