Covid- 19 Response
This global health crisis has certainly brought about unthinkable hardship, feelings of unease and great fear for all. On behalf of the Tech Collective team, we would like to express our concern and support for all the members of the Tech Collective community; our staff, our members, our partners, our families, and all others affected by this outbreak.
Though much has changed in our everyday lives, one thing has not: the need to continue to develop strongly skilled technical workers and leaders. Fortunately, techies are lifelong, continuous learners who are conditioned to staying ahead of trends and anticipating new challenges. We believe the technology workforce is uniquely qualified to emerge as an even more integral part of an organization with each day that passes.
As such, we have made enhancements and adjustments to our Tech Collective programs and initiatives so that we can continue to support the tech workforce as they learn and connect from home.
We have moved quick and shifted our programming and events from in-person to virtual. In the coming weeks, we will continue to host events across all our program areas, including: agile, cyber, data, WIT, professional development, etc. You can learn more about our virtual experiences and trainings, by checking out our full Events Calendar here.
We have found that shorter, more digestible segments are desired, so we are limiting most of our programming to one hour or less. Over the last few weeks, our team has been working with our steering
committees and members to schedule dozens of short virtual sessions during the workday to help you connect and learn from your office; wherever you are!
Our team has also gone virtual and has been using Microsoft Teams extensively to stay in touch with each other, meet with our steering committees, and conduct membership meetings. Our team is always a call away, and we would welcome your input on the trainings and experiences that would be most relevant to you now. You can reach out to us directly or by clicking here.
As Rhode Island’s Technical Authority, the Tech Collective and our members have always endeavored to serve the small business community with their technology needs. As the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted small businesses in ways we’ve never seen, the Tech Collective has partnered with other community organizations to amplify our efforts and our impact.
We have three initiatives we have launched or expanded for small business assistance:
Rhode to Resilience Program
At the end of last year, our Cyber Security Steering Committee started exploring what we can do in Rhode Island to improve our small- and mid-sized businesses approach to cyber security, and leave them feeling better prepared to navigate this ever-complex security landscape. Our conversations and strategy sessions led us to introducing the SMB Cyber Security Rhode to Resilience Program, sponsored by COX Business.
We are converting to a virtual program and continuing on our quest to ensure that local leaders are able to receive training from the best security professionals in the industry so they can improve the cyber resilience of their small businesses. You can learn more about the program here.
If you have any security or IT professionals who can donate an occasional hour or two, please let us know and we will get them trained on our platform. Click here for information.
Another area we are helping is by offering a laptop loaner/donation program. Several small businesses in the state have mentioned that they do not have laptops available to work from home. As such, we are coordinating a program to loan or give laptops to these companies. If anyone has laptops to loan or donate, or time to assist us executing this program (soliciting laptops, cleaning before they go out, tracking, delivering, cleaning when they come back, etc.), please let us know. Click here for more information.
Tech Support During COVID-19
We are working closely with Commerce RI and Venture Café Providence to provide technical assistance to Rhode Island’s small businesses that need help adjusting to the new work from home reality. In partnership, we have launched a tech support program (click here), providing complimentary 45-minute tech support sessions for small businesses and sole proprietors via Zoom or conference call.
Many local businesses need IT support or e-commerce website assistance. If you or your team can volunteer a few hours per week, please let us know.
CBET (Covid Business Response Team)
In partnership with Governor Gina Raimondo’s Office and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, the Tech Collective has formed the COVID Business Engagement Team (CBET), a volunteer task force that are is reaching out to local business owners to gather information and identify a primary COVID point of contact.
“We need your help!” says Ken Brindamour, State Director of RI COVID Testing, “It is critical that the State and our businesses work together to reopen the economy safely. Our CBET team is here to help us understand your needs, and help you navigate possible solutions.” Click here for more information.
Staying Connected While Apart
In times of great uncertainty, it has never been more important to stay connected and continue to create forums for learning and proper technical training. We extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our Tech Collective members for your understanding.
These are difficult times, but we will get through them by working together.
Thank you for your support of the Tech Collective. I look forward to “seeing” you at some of our upcoming virtual events and training opportunities.
Stay Healthy and Safe,
Joe Devine Tech Collective Executive Director