A recent survey of New Jersey technology companies found that while their biggest obstacle is finding qualified workers, about half said they do not actively recruit from local colleges or military veterans.
That just doesn't make sense.
But the survey by the New Jersey Technology Council also reveals interesting information about hiring that the council hopes could improve the process.
It's easy to see why both sides - companies and prospective employees - might be frustrated. It seems to be a classic "Catch 22" situation: Businesses want to hire people with job experience, but the only way to get experience is to get a job.
Maxine Ballen, founder and CEO of the council, said there is a disconnect between the technology community and colleges. That gap must be closed. The higher education and the technology sector must become better integrated.
Associate professor Aakash Taneja at Richard Stockton College said faculty there regularly communicate with industry to help determine their curriculum and help students set career goals. Maybe that process should be more formalized to make sure businesses and students recognize that college courses are job training.
College officials have long promoted internships as a way to get job experience before getting a permanent job. Requiring every student to do one would give them a "job experience" for their resume. If businesses want that experience, they must also embrace internships as a recruitment tool.
We don't need to reinvent the wheel to expand and improve the hiring process.
Workforce Investment Boards around the state were created specifically to identify potential jobs and the training that will be needed to do them. They work with businesses and colleges to help match people to careers, and they can play a vital role in making sure technology firms are adequately represented in their efforts.
And the survey showed half of technology companies do recruit new college graduates and veterans. Their experiences, both good and bad, should be shared as a lesson for all.
College students (aka "future employees") have a role to play as well, by taking advantage of opportunities and by planning their college years as the beginning of a career path.
Job-hunting today is challenging. It is to everyone's advantage to make the hiring process more productive. Ballen, who sees technology as a major industry for the future of New Jersey, said she thinks the survey did raise awareness of deficiencies and has made businesses more interested in connecting with veterans and colleges.
As any techie knows, no technology works if the different pieces can't communicate. All interested parties in the technology industry should reach out now to make those connections.