The Montana state government is beginning to look to trade schools and two-year degree programs for prospective applicants to fill state IT positions, according to Matt Van Syckle, chief technology officer for the state.

At an April 11 event in Washington organized by VMWare, Van Syckle talked about the need to focus on those brackets for emerging tech talent.

“We’re not going to hire someone with a master’s degree with 10 years of experience with our -pay,” he said. “So, we need to really focus on getting our talent from out of the two-year schools and out the trade schools in Montana.”

State governments have to compete with the private sector for tech talent, and Van Syckle explained how Montana has changed its own hiring philosophy as a result.

“We want to embrace that as a hiring philosophy and as a talent philosophy. And then towards the end of someone’s career, we want to bring them back – it’s the idea of being an alumni to the state of Montana,” he said.

Van Syckle added that as part of that new thinking, he is pushing for adoption of new technologies to create excitement among job applicants. “You have to get them excited about what they’re going to work on,” he said.

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