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Kathy Burger
Kathy Burger
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Workforce Development: The Next Big IT Challenge

GEICO launches Technology Development Program to recruit and develop future IT professionals; topic will be focus of discussion at upcoming InformationWeek CIO Forum at Interop New York.

The next really big IT challenge for insurance companies also is one of the oldest challenges -- building and managing a highly skilled and highly motivated workforce that is compensated and rewarded in an appropriate way; continuously aligning the skills of that workforce with the current and future needs of the company; and making sure the investment in those workers pays off through a lack of turnover and the ability to promote from within. The “skills in demand” have changed over the years, and certainly the ways IT professionals do their jobs also have changed, but the importance of having a well-educated, diverse and committed workforce is, if anything, more important than ever. That’s partly because this is an imperative for all industries, not just insurance -- which means that insurers are in an intense global competition for top IT talent at all levels.

Most companies are not taking this battle for granted. For example, this week GEICO launched its new Technology Development Program, a three-year full-time rotational program, based in the company's corporate headquarters in the Washington, D.C., metro area, designed to give technical college graduates a well-rounded experience within IT at GEICO.

According to a company press release, “GEICO is seeking driven, innovative college graduates with technical backgrounds” for the program. "It is a very exciting time to begin a career in IT," said Greg Kalinsky, GEICO's CIO and SVP with responsibilities for IT operations, in the press release.

The role of technology and the rate of innovation and transformative change has never been greater in business or at GEICO than it is today. Our technology development program is designed to provide a foundation for success by providing our program candidates with a comprehensive set of experiences in mobile and web development as well as IT operations.”

Associates in the program will rotate through GEICO's Information Services, Systems Operations and Internet Business divisions, work on individual and team projects and develop technical, project management, communication and leadership abilities while enhancing programming, networking and architecture, software engineering and database management skills. After the program is complete, participants will move into positions on technical teams best suited for their interests and skills, according to the company.

Across financial services we are learning more about aggressive and innovative initiatives involving school partnerships, development competitions and hackathons, mentoring, and old-fashioned training geared to building the IT organization of the future. I’ll be moderating a panel focused specifically on this issue at the upcoming InformationWeek CIO Summit on Wednesday, October 2, 2013, as part of Interop New York. “Building The Next-Gen ‘Innovation’ Organization” will explore the skills and technology capabilities that are needed (and which one’s aren’t) in today’s business climate – and what it will take to obtain and nurture them. Panelists include former insurance CIO Frank Wander, founder of The IT Excellence Institute; and Aman Kohli, Managing Director, BNY Mellon, Client Technology Solutions

[Frank Wander argues that IT Success Depends On Treating Staff As People, Not "Human Resources" ]

What is your organization doing to develop its IT workforce for the future? Join us at the CIO Summit to share best practices, and pick up some new tools for the battle.

[Check out this session: IT Is Your Business, Run It Like One at Interop, which runs from September 30 through October 4 in NYC.]

Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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