‘TechGen 2.0’ will help students find internships at Mass. tech companies

Students in the Tech Generation program attended a session on "How to rock your summer internship" earlier this summer.
Students in the Tech Generation program attended a session on "How to rock your summer internship" earlier this summer.

A state-sponsored program that helps Massachusetts tech companies find interns will play professional matchmaker for a second year running, armed with a fresh injection of funds and a brand new web-based jobs board.

Tech Generation “2.0”, which goes live Tuesday, allows students to set up profiles describing their education, interests, and experience. The website matches them with internship postings from local companies, which can also create accounts.

The New England Venture Capital Association is the driving force behind TechGen, and conceived the platform as one way to keep new graduates with tech skills and entrepreneurial ideas from fleeing West looking for opportunity.

“We continue to hear that there’s a brain drain that’s happening in the state. Consistently we have talent come in from far and wide. (But) we don’t have the ability to retain them in a meaningful way,” said Jody Rose, the executive director of NEVCA.

TechGen launched last March with backing from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a public agency that supports innovation in the state.

The initial focus was to help startups staff up, since young companies typically don’t have the resources to hire a recruitment team. “On a weekly basis we were sending out spreadsheets to companies with an updated list of candidates,” Rose said. The group also held social events and networking sessions for young career-builders.

All told, 1,500 students and 117 companies participated in the program, according to NEVCA.

Surprisingly, 20 percent of interns applied from out of state, suggesting that such a program stands a shot at retaining but also attracting skilled workers to an industry that tends to skew young.

This year, with $100,000 from the Mass. Tech Collaborative, NEVCA is inviting established tech firms to participate as recruiters alongside year-old startups. The range of postings will include non-tech departments like marketing and advertising. The group is hoping the website will make it easier for recruiters and students to find each other.

“If I think about what success looks like at the end of this year I’d love to be able to triple our student members,” Rose said.

Rose is also on the hunt for a funding model that will wean the program off public dollars and allow it to sustain itself. As a first step, companies which are posting job openings are invited to donate as sponsors. Four companies, including security company Rapid7 and Internet software company LogMeIn, have agreed to make donations as part of their participation.

“We are extremely pleased to sponsor TechGen and to see the program expand in year two,” Pamela Goldberg, CEO of the Mass.  Tech Collaborative, said in a release. “TechGen is a key pathway for the Commonwealth to work with the private sector to grow our talent pipeline and ensure that our tech and startup ecosystems stay vibrant.”

Nidhi Subbaraman writes about science and research. Email her at nidhi.subbaraman@globe.com.
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