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New council to focus on Island's tech opportunities, talent crunch

Peter Goldsmith, founder and chairman of LISTnet, says

Peter Goldsmith, founder and chairman of LISTnet, says the new Tech Advisory Council will help Long Island benefit from New York City's growing tech scene. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Officials behind local technology advocacy group LISTnet are launching an advisory council aimed at tackling some of the challenges Long Island tech companies face in recruitment.

The new Tech Advisory Council includes executives and representatives from nine Island companies and three universities, said Peter Goldsmith, founder and chairman of LISTnet (Long Island Software & Technology Network). The council will hold its first meeting on Thursday to set an agenda for the year.

Companies that will be represented include Northwell Health, Dealertrack, Comtech and  FragranceNet.com. Universities with representatives on the council include Hofstra, Stony Brook and New York Institute of Technology.

In recent years many Long Island tech companies have said recruitment and retention of talented tech workers has become a challenge amid fierce competition for top software engineers, developers and data analysts in New York City. City firms often pay higher wages for similar work.

With Amazon’s decision last year to establish a 25,000-employee operation in Queens and Google's plan to add 7,000 employees in Manhattan, Goldsmith said Long Island’s tech community, government officials and universities need to position themselves to take advantage of the growing tech hub in the city.

“The minute I heard Amazon is moving to Long Island City I said this is an opportunity to do something, but we have to be ready,” he said. While some local businesses are concerned that the retail giant’s arrival might exacerbate the existing talent crunch, Goldsmith said proactive steps can be taken to ensure that Long Island’s tech community is a beneficiary of New York’s growing tech scene.

“If you stand still, nothing gets done,” he said.

Goldsmith, who came up with the idea for the council late last year, said he hopes it will bring officials from both Nassau and Suffolk counties together, along with the Island’s academic institutions and tech employers to strategize ways the region can market itself as a tech resource.

High on the nascent council’s  list of goals are getting government support, promoting resources available to tech firms, securing cooperation from colleges and universities and marketing Nassau and Suffolk as a tech hub, Goldsmith said.

“We’re all a community, and this is good for all of Long Island,” he said of Amazon’s planned arrival.

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