NSS Forms Advisory Groups To Strengthen Engagement With Employers

Jul 29, 2021
Mandy Arola

Program Management Team Expands

Since our founding, we have tailored our learning programs to the demands of the Middle Tennessee technology job market and have continuously adapted our programs to meet the changing needs of the market. Built on direct relationships with working professionals and their employers, the model has worked. NSS has placed 1200 graduates at more than 300 companies, the vast majority of which are in the Middle Tennessee area. 

Like all growing organizations, we’ve had to adapt some of the things that previously worked, but are not scalable in a rapidly growing organization. One of those improvements is the introduction of advisory boards to extend how we collaborate with Middle Tennessee employers. The advisory boards will enable us to collaborate with employers in a more structured, regular manner and will complement and inform other less formal contacts. Boards will be composed of working professionals and subject matter experts, team leaders, and hiring managers.

The boards will advise NSS on industry trends in Middle Tennessee, including emerging technologies, workforce education needs, and employee development for the purpose of aligning current NSS programs with the market as well as identifying and prioritizing new programs. We will launch two advisory boards within the year: one for web development/software engineering and one for data analytics and data science. We are also planning an advisory board made up of NSS alumni although the timing on that board is less defined at this time.

We will be reaching out to organizations and individuals that we’ve been working with over the past nine years to identify those interested in participating in an advisory board. We’re also interested in hearing from other individuals that would like to engage in helping NSS keep our programs closely aligned with local workforce needs as well as the overall direction of the various career fields that we support. If you’re interested, please feel free to reach out to us and identify which advisory board(s) you or your organization would like to participate in. 

Our team of program managers will work closely with the advisory boards. This team is dedicated to maintaining and designing new programs in web development, front-end designer/development, data analytics, data science, IT infrastructure, Jumpstart programs and professional development courses. We’ve added new positions and new people to this team over the past year, so let’s introduce you to them.

Meet The Team

jeremy-bakkerJeremy Bakker joined the team in February as Director of Learning Programs. An NSS Web Development Cohort 18 alumnus, Jeremy partners with the operational, program, and instructional teams to maintain existing programs and create new learning opportunities for students who are looking to advance their career in technology. Most recently, he leveraged his engineering and leadership skills at Eventbrite as an engineering manager.

Heather-DixonHeather Dixon is our newest teammate and as our Program Manager for Web Development, she focuses on the day-to-day delivery of our web development programs, from admissions to graduation to job placement. Heather’s relationship to NSS began as a hiring manager for a product development team. Over four years she hired several NSS graduates into junior developer positions and was impressed with their eagerness to learn and the speed at which they added value to her teams and the organization overall. Heather will coordinate the Web Development/Software Engineering advisory board once it is up and running. 

mahesh-raoMahesh Rao is not new to NSS, but new to this team as our Program Manager for Analytics + Data Science. A graduate of NSS’s Data Science Cohort 1, Mahesh returned to NSS as an instructor for Data Analytics in January 2020. Mahesh assumes the Program Manager responsibilities from Mary van Valkenburg who has moved to a new role as our Director of Data Operations. As program manager, Mahesh oversees the delivery of our Analytics + Data Science programs from admissions to graduation and will coordinate the advisory board for these programs. 

deanna-vickersDeanna Vickers returned to NSS last year to launch our Fellowship Program. She is focused on building programs to help graduates bridge the gap between graduation and their first full-time job. Deanna has a long history in tech; including being an active member of the Nashville tech community, most visibly as part of Music City Tech, and an NSS graduate from Web Development Cohort 25. After graduating NSS, she worked as a developer before returning to manage the Fellowship Program. 

Topics: News, Community, Analytics + Data Science, Get Involved, Web Development