Young, savvy entrepreneurs were building on Palm Beach County’s growing momentum as a tech hub. Co-working spaces sprang up everywhere. From big companies to smaller startups, hiring in South Florida’s tech clusters was at a 16-year high.
Then the building blocks crashed. Instantly.
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The COVID-19 outbreak ravaged the growing foundation for Palm Beach’s tech industry but a nonprofit in West Palm Beach, known for helping connect businesses, plans to help in rebuilding the blooming tech hub.
Nikki Cabus, vice president of development at the Palm Beach Tech Association, hosted a virtual career expo last month. She says the expo attracted more than 800 out-of-work members of the tech industry and paired them with 25 companies. And the expo came as the modern workforce is adapting to the times, with many security and support-side roles going remote.
The association — which celebrates its fifth anniversary in July — also recently partnered with the Knight Foundation, Career Source Florida, and eMerge Americas for the South Florida Tech Careers initiative, a new, tri-county platform for job seekers.
Cabus, the self-proclaimed “professional people connector,” says competing organizations that never worked together are “sharing ideas, tips, and staff members.” She adds that more emphasis on “humanity” is one of several silver linings that has come out of the coronavirus pandemic.
Cabus spoke with WLRN about the new career expo and why combining organizations from the tri-county area is the best bet for hitting the ground running, once the economy reopens. Here’s an excerpt of that conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity.
NIKKI CABUS: That was the first time we’ve ever done a career expo. But it was something that we did want to do at minimum, at least once annually. But now we’re thinking, you know, we need to do it at least two to four times a year. So we actually have the next one we just confirmed this night and two days ago for July 15th.
WLRN: Tell me about the new South Florida Tech Careers Initiative.
CABUS: We actually are working now with eMerge Americas, the Knight Foundation, and Career Source Florida to offer resources and support to our community, both on the hiring managers and company side and then also the job seekers. So, we’re actually looking right now at expanding our Resume Distributor. Basically what that is, is any hiring companies and any job seekers — connecting them for free on the platform. So it used to be something that was exclusive just for members.
And now we’re actually getting some other partners involved to help, even for people that may be looking to get into tech, maybe switching their roles right now, or [who got] laid off. I know that we just did a call with a lot of the Magic Leap employees that just got laid off as well.
How you can reach them:
For more info on the upcoming career expo on July 15 and the South Florida Tech Careers Initiative go here or call 561-425-8918.