Charleston Open Source seeks to fill tech talent gap

The idea behind Charleston Open Source isn’t about competition for technology talent, even though the employers involved in it might be looking for workers with similar skills and backgrounds.

The new group, which made its debut Wednesday at the annual Dig South tech event, aims to do a couple of things: tell people about working in Charleston and recruit new employees, said Claire Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, which markets the tri-county area to businesses.

“Charleston Open Source is about connectivity,” she said, describing the debut as a “soft” launch. “It’s bringing Charleston’s tech community together, it’s sharing information for those who may want to join.”

But it also seeks to help the region with its push to lure more talented workers to fill jobs.

“We’re not graduating enough employees with the skills needed for our tech companies,” Gibbons said. “There’s a business need for it.”

Christina Lock, co-chair of the group, announced a list of local companies that are part of the effort. They include Benefitfocus, Blackbaud, Blue Acorn, BoomTown, Echovate, eGroup, Good Done Great, Oneinamil, PeopleMatter, PhishLabs, SPARC, STOPSO and SRC.

“We’re really excited,” said Lock, vice president of human resources and recruiting at SPARC.

Charleston Open Source’s website — charlestonopensource.com — will be a recruiting tool, she said.

“They can look at the website and that’ll have a direct link to … participating companies, open jobs. It’ll have resources about the community, as well as the demographics within the Charleston region,” Lock said.

She estimated between 15 percent and 20 percent of all hiring in the tech field requires companies to look outside the local area.

“There is definitely a talent gap,” she said.

Others used the third annual Dig South as a platform to introduce themselves. For example, Vouch, an app that aims to crowdsource where companies should put their charity contributions, also made itself known at the Upload Charleston event Tuesday night. The app is under in/PACT, a local company.

Stan Gray, founder and CEO of Dig South, said last week he wants startups to show their stuff.

“We’re very excited to help them … put that on the map,” he said.

Dig South, known as “The Southeast’s Interactive Festival,” continues through Saturday at the Cinebarre theater on Houston Northcutt Boulevard in Mount Pleasant.