CareerSource NCFL Employer of the Month: The Tech Toy Box

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CareerSource North Central Florida Helps Tech Toy Box Identify and Hire Great Employees

Chamber member company Tech Toy Box has found a talent solution in CareerSource North Central Florida. Mark Davidson, President of The Tech Toy Box talks below about the company’s experience with Chamber membership, CareerSource North Central Florida and the various programs that have connected them with talent.

About Tech Toy Box

The Tech Toybox, Inc. is a not-for-profit founded to teach anyone interested how to make prototypes from ideas. We do this by pairing real-world prototype projects with anyone who wants to learn how to make and solve real-world problems. Participant come for a 3-month volunteer commitment and learn how to make, solve problems, and do the R&D needed to get a product from idea to proof of concept. At the end of the projects, the inventor/company/researcher has their prototype, and several interns have been exposed to the garage startup process. We also provide community development classes in all aspects of creating.

Chamber Membership

I have found the chamber to be extremely valuable in providing a platform for interaction and action throughout the community. By participating, we have become friends with many in the community. Our experiences with the chamber and other organizations also help us keep a finger on the pulse of upcoming needs which we may be able to meet.

CareerSource North Central Florida

I first got involved with CareerSource NCFL as a mentor to the Startup Quest program.  After two successful rounds, I worked with CareerSource NCFL as a part-time special projects manager overseeing the very successful Startup Quest program. Since returning full time to The Tech Toybox, I continue to be involved in CareerSource NCFL programs including being a site for training of STEM Ready interns.

CareerSource NCFL STEM Ready

We have hosted a total of 5 STEM Ready interns so far. We have indeed had great results with those interns. The first, Juan Fernandez is employed at a local startup and is a key member of their team now. I think his interaction with us in the STEM Ready program resulted directly in his resulting employment. We have also hired two of the STEM Ready participants on large research and development programs that have recently been awarded. One of those two interns is going to work on expanding a new service and education program in collaboration with The Tech Toybox, Inc. while working half time on the new project.The CareerSource NCFL is a particularly great example of the power of incorporating entrepreneurial principles into what is traditionally a very well-defined agency. The STEM ready program is specifically preparing our talented long-term unemployed and reconnecting them with the workplace. Startup Quest provided an on-ramp for talented, long-term unemployed to entrepreneurial skills and mindset. Anecdotally, I have found that graduates of this program have become more well-rounded employees, and many have started their own businesses. These are not typical workforce board programs, but rather are innovative programs based on the entrepreneurial principle of matching problems with talents to create a greater good.

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