Black Enterprise- March 2014 - Power Player : Everybody Gets a Job

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Information about Black Enterprise- March 2014 - Power Player : Everybody Gets a Job

Published on February 19, 2014

Author: USTGlobal



Black Enterprise- March 2014 - Power Player : Everybody Gets a Job

Sonia Alleyne interviews UST Global CEO Sajan Pillai for Black Enterprise about his leadership in creating the STEM talent and UST Global's Step IT Up America Program

Copyrights : Sonia Alleyne / Black Enterprise

How should corporations fight the war for global STEM talent? CEO Sajan Pillai believes the immense talent demands of companies to stay competitive will not allow them to wait for traditional sources such as universities to provide the expertise. As a result, he believes companies are going to have to create the talent they need. And his firm, USTGlobal, a 14-year-old information technology company serving more than 100 of the nation’s largest corporations, is leading the way. In 2012, UST-Global partnered with the government and business community of Mexico to train 30,000 young people, a program that will take roughly three years, after which Pillai intends to hire 10,000 trainees. Pillai is also focused on the U.S., and in November his firm launched Step IT Up America, a program that will train 1,000 young, minority, inner-city women in 10 cities in 10 months. The plan is to hire all 1,000 who complete the program. “Low income doesn’t mean low IQ,” says Pillai. He believes that his commitment to developing and recruiting talent is not just a strong business opportunity but that it is the responsibility of corporations to advance the social needs of the communities in which they do business. Here he discusses how these strategies can benefit everyone. You refer to information technology as the new oil for the century. Why? Everybody Gets a Job The CEO of a global technology firm steps up corporate giving by training, then hiring trainees—offering a brand-new solution for finding talent By Sonia Alleyne 28 WWW.Blackenterprise.COM • photograph by samuel westre • March 2014 Every century is marked by one or two profound changes or inventions that define it. The last century was defined by the advent of electronics. In this century, changes are going to be made with information and information technology. For the first time there are more cell phones than the population of the world. Cell phones [are available to 65% to 70% of the world’s population]. Not only big companies have information technology. Now the little guy in remote places has access. Information technology is going to be the big tidal wave of this century. You’ve also said that universities are not going to be able to supply the necessary talent. Large university systems are creating talent with extensive education, but many times not with what business needs. Technology and business are changing so rapidly and [institutional instruction] does not change that often; it creates an incredible gap between what’s needed and what’s produced. When you look at the U.S., the university systems are just not engineered to produce the talent at scale for the demand that’s going to happen. Having human resources is not the same as having talent, and having talent is not the same as global talent—the talent that can perform in global companies has distinctly different attributes. So, it’s a real crisis. Why was Mexico such an attractive market for you to train and hire talent? There were three reasons: No. 1, the demand for information technology talent and mathematics talent around the world is exploding and will continue to increase. Yet most businesses and most countries just do not understand and let the opportunity go by them. Today most of the information technology talent is consumed by the U.S. and produced by the U.S. and India, and the rest of the countries are just standing by. I think there is incredible opportunity to redistribute this new oil more evenly. No. 2, Latin America is the economic growth engine of the world and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Latin American countries are growing 6% to 7% sustainable growth at scale. The third reason, and most important, is the adjacency to the U.S. market. With U.S. companies now fighting to compete with global companies at tremendous scale, the need for technology talent to make companies competitive and productive has increased, [particularly] with Mexico now becoming [a] leading manufacturer in the world. What was the inspiration for Step IT Up America? Information technology produces more jobs than all the other STEM disciplines combined. So, it’s an incredible opportunity to train people and provide them with a decent livelihood and bring them into the new-age jobs. While we were doing this across the world, in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, one of the things we noticed was that there was such a dire need of the program in America. By and large people [in the U.S.] are consumers and not producers of technology. There is also a lack of participation by the minority communities in America in information technology. Although they [are] 27% to 28% of the demographic their participation in the most powerful job sector is less than 3%. That’s such a profound gap. What that tells us is that as the new-age jobs are going to [increase] at scale, minorities are going to be excluded from this prosperity mechanism. We have to break this cycle somehow. So, in 10 months we will take 10 cities and 1,000 women and make them information technologists. Now, you have 1,000 women who can act as role models in those communities. We started this program in Atlanta on Nov. 19 and the response from the civic, political, and business community has been incredible. Our objective is to scale to 50 cities. Every person that we train we are going to [hire]. To be sustainable you have to create an ecosystem. That’s the real goal. Have you been able to recruit other CEOs? The lack of technology talent is a problem. They know that this is a serious problem, but they really haven’t had any solutions. There are those who want to jump right away and take a little risk, and there are others who want to wait, but the response has been extremely positive. You believe that social capital will be the business model for this century. Those who had financial capital in the 19th century controlled the wealth. [Today] social awareness and social impact must be considered by large companies. Companies without understanding and without creating social capital in the places they operate are going to have a tough time competing. be march 2014 • by sonia alleyne @soniaalleyne 29

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