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Tampa Chamber Education Connection: Talent Management Best Practices

June 6, 2016

On June 1, the Greater Tampa Chamber hosted its Education Connection detailing best practice strategies of recruiting and retaining talent. There were 62 attendees that were able to interact with a panel of education employer-relations experts. The panel consisted of: Julia Ruddock from The University of Tampa, Mike McCay from University of South Florida, Kelly Bogey from Grant Thornton, LLP, and Pasqualina Sparks from Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. The panel was able to share from their experiences how they have sought and retained amazing talent, locally and nationwide.

The panel agreed that one of the most significant ways of attracting talent was through communication with educational institutions. The panelists from UT and USF, Julia Ruddock and Mike McCay, shared some of the resources that are available to their students that assist both students and companies in connecting with one another. Both universities host job fairs in which local businesses may interact and meet students as well as alumni. As a result of the increased communication between the universities and businesses, it has become easier for the universities to gauge what a company needs, rather than relying on an applicant’s major alone to search for suitable placement.

Another topic discussed by the panel was the importance of searching for applicants with talent and passion instead of by degree or major. Pasqualina Sparks shared that she looks for applicants with passion and drive first because industry specific skills can be taught with proper training. Pasqualina urged employers not to limit themselves by checking boxes that specify a degree wanted. Additionally, Mike McCay pointed out that there are some students that might have interests and talents even they may be unaware of. It is only when they work hard and try something new that they discover some of their hidden talents.

The panel went on to discuss ways of encouraging students to intern or apply for non-profit positions. Julia encouraged the business leaders in the room to offer opportunities for students to become more involved such as volunteering. She explained that millennial students generally care more about experience and opportunity then they do about money. Furthermore, Kelly Bogey mentioned that another resource vital in discovering talent lies within student organizations. In the past they have proved to be extremely helpful during the recruitment process. Kelly also suggested that becoming involved and possibly speaking at these organizations would be beneficial in providing exposure and raising company visibility.

Ultimately, the panel supported that it is essential to utilize the resources this community offers. It is important to maintain involvement and communication with educational institutions. By maintaining these connections, companies will have their support and assistance in finding talent to match its needs. No company should limit itself to giving specific and unnecessary qualifications for applicants.

For more information about future Education Connection events hosted by the Greater Tampa Chamber, visit here!

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This post was written by Elevate, Inc.

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