Ohio Tech Day launches this week: Q&A with OhioX President Chris Berry

Evan Weese

By on 09/21/21

Ohio Tech Day launches this week: Q&A with OhioX President Chris Berry

Ready to talk tech in Ohio? Mark your calendar for this one.

The first-ever Ohio Tech Day will be held on September 24th, bringing together companies, organizations, and schools to celebrate technology and innovation across Ohio.

There will be three main ways to participate, all free of charge:

  1. A virtual event designed to inspire high school students to consider careers in tech.

  2. Schools, companies, and organizations host their own event—virtual or in person—to celebrate and share their tech story.

  3. #iamOhiotech social media campaign to tell the stories of Ohioans working in tech and show the many paths to a successful career in the field.

Ohio Tech Day is being sponsored by Facebook and hosted by OhioX, a statewide tech nonprofit working to build Ohio into a leading tech hub. 

Ohio Tech Day Save the Date (1)

 

Ahead of the event, OhioX President Chris Berry spoke with Purpose Jobs:

Chris BerryWhat prompted this first-ever Ohio Tech Day?

Ohio Tech Day started as conversations with leaders from member companies of OhioX. We were talking about what our organization, and companies across the state, could do to help raise the profile of tech in Ohio and also inspire more students to consider tech careers. These conversations started in Winter 2021 and since then we've had a planning committee of business leaders, civic leaders, and educators who have planned, designed, and made Ohio Tech Day happen. It's continued to grow with more companies, schools, and organizations reaching out to get involved. Tech Day is now an annual event and will be held on the final Friday of each September.

You can see our partners here.

 

How will the event work?

Ohio Tech Day combines in-person and virtual events as well as media campaigns. Here is how the day works. The day begins with a kickoff event from 8:30 to 10:30 am (RSVP to the kickoff event here). After the kickoff event ends, there will be celebrations across the state. Some will be in person, some will be virtual, some on social media. 

 

Why is this a good time to celebrate all the great things going on in Ohio’s tech community?

Tech in Ohio is at an exciting time. There's incredible innovation happening across the state but oftentimes it occurs in our regional silos. We wanted to create an opportunity for the entire state to celebrate the great work happening at our companies, schools, and organizations. Ohio Tech Day is not about one company or organization but about the entire tech community and the people who make it happen. 

 

Who do you recommend attends?

Anyone interested in tech and innovation in Ohio and helping build Ohio into a tech hub. The spirit of the day is all about promoting the incredible companies, schools, and ideas that make tech in Ohio special. And for our "do it yourself" component of the day, just use #ohiotechday to share your tech story!

Theres incredible innovation happening across the state but oftentimes it occurs in our regional silos. We wanted to create an opportunity for the entire state to celebrate the great work happening at our comp (2)

Why do you feel it’s important for the event to include students?

Tech and innovation are only made possible by the people who make it happen. And for Ohio to be competitive into the 21st Century, we’ll need a strong tech-focused workforce. We hope Ohio Tech Day shows high school students that you don’t have to leave home in order to find great career opportunities in tech.

 

Tell me about the student-led roundtable conversations.

Ohio Tech Day is designed to include and inspire Ohio's high school students. As part of that, we've been working and having conversations with a number of high school and college students. One piece of important feedback we heard was, it's great to be talked to, but it'd also be great if we can tell our own stories as part of the day. There are high school and college students that have built hackathons, nonprofits, and more that are helping get more students interested in tech.

 

Careers in tech may not be on the radar of many young people. How do we fix that?

We hope that Ohio Tech Day plays a big role in this. The day is connecting the pipeline of K-12 to higher education to industry. A career in tech can mean many things. Kids can see careers like doctors, dentists, restaurant owners, and TikTok stars. We hope that Ohio Tech Day can show the many different types of career opportunities available to anyone.

 

How about the roundtables with tech pros?

The day's audience will hear from tech pros who are leaders at companies like Facebook, Nationwide, Verizon, Dolr (a FinTech startup), and the FBI (a cyber expert). They will be sharing their stories and how there's an incredible diversity to tech in Ohio. We hope to show that there are many paths to a successful career in tech - and we are stronger because of this diversity.

 

What has you excited about tech in Ohio?

From startups to Fortune 500 companies, there are so many companies doing incredible work but none of it is possible without the people who make it happen. One of the things we've built and launched as part of Ohio Tech Day is our #iamohiotech campaign (more here).

This campaign will continue well beyond Ohio Tech Day.

 

In what ways can we improve as a tech community?

One of the biggest concerns we hear from employers is about having the tech-focused workforce they need to compete globally. This isn't a challenge unique to Ohio but I truly believe we can build solutions here that are leading models. Ohio Tech Day is just one part of this and there's much more to do and come.

 

Visit www.ohiotechday.org for more information.

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