How to Engage the Next Generation in Tech Careers

February 14th, 2022 | 4 min read

High school student looking off to the side smiling

Computer and Information Technology occupations are among the fastest growing in the United States. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects IT job growth of 13% from 2020 to 2030. Encouraging the next generation to explore these careers has become increasingly important to meet the growing demand. This is especially true in Ohio, which Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger recently called the “Silicone Heartland.”

Since 2012, CareSource has hosted nearly 150 interns throughout the organization and has hired more than 75%. This success can be attributed to early engagement with students and building a sustainable pipeline of individuals with a passion for technology.

“Information Technology is an exciting field with many positions outside of what most people think of as technology careers,” says Devon Valencia, Chief Information Officer at CareSource. “CareSource wants to share that with high school and college students and develop opportunities for them to experience a day in the life that will help them on their career journey.”

In order to effectively engage students, it is important to give them opportunities to explore their interest and begin considering their career journeys into Information Technology or Computer Science degrees. CareSource regularly partners with community organizations that provide opportunities and hosts events for high school students. These events have included a Cyber Challenge event for Girl Scouts, Career Adventure Days with Technology First and, most recently, goIT with Tata Consulting Services and Dayton Early College Academy.

CareSource also regularly participates in High School Career Days where high school students gain exposure to IT through attending meetings and participating in discussion panels with IT professionals. Hearing CareSource IT leaders share their career stories and meeting with individual contributors with technology roles provides students with a broad understanding of the necessary skills and exciting possibilities for Information Technology careers at CareSource.

Once students get a taste of the possibilities at these events, CareSource often invites them to participate in one of our two IT internship programs: one for high school and one for college students.  

The CareSource IT Internship program is more than doubling in in 2022 with 30 available positions.

In 2021, CareSource partnered with Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education’s Miami Valley Intern Academy to bring high school students to CareSource for 10 weeks to work with IT professionals on CareSource projects. During the most recent cohort, interns worked in Cyber Defense, Client Systems and Software Quality. In addition to their project work, interns were also engaged in bi-monthly activities to allow them to meet with IT professionals across CareSource to discuss other positions and necessary skills.

An average of 74% of the IT interns go on to full-time employment at CareSource.

But building a sustainable pipeline of IT talent goes beyond events and internships. CareSource has expanded the talent acquisition program to incorporate apprenticeships, skill pathway programs, revamping residencies, externships and rotations across the country and to colleges nationally. Expanding CareSource’s reach to a national level has also supported CareSource’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals with the majority of students hired from underrepresented minority groups.

Last summer, CareSource hired interns from seven different states.

When most students think about careers in Information Technology, they think of programmers. CareSource’s engagement with students empowers exploration into Information Technology jobs that extend beyond coding to include project managers, scrum masters, systems analysts, data analysts, software quality analysts, and so many more positions. Engaging the next generation of the workforce with current IT professionals will maintain our level of IT excellence as demand grows.

"I was attracted to the CareSource Internship Program by the opportunity to continue my professional development and expand my problem-solving and technical skills in IT. I am building relationships with fellow colleagues and learning about different project management practices. The people here have been very welcoming." Savant, Student, Wake Forest University