Strong ed-tech collaborators fused together the first-ever youth conference as part of TENWEST Impact Festival. This half-day conference brought together 100 regional middle school and high school youth plus local employers from across private and public sectors to explore the workforce of the future and how they can learn the skills and tools to thrive in the new digital economy.

Included a keynote address, breakout sessions, workshops, and lunch.

Hosted in the inspiring downtown offices of Hexagon Mining. Sponsored by Simpleview.

Keynote: gigapult (Presenter: John Bevell) - Technology is changing at a rate faster than the human capacity to adapt. Knowledge and information is available through a quick google search on a smartphone. In addition, how employers identify talent and connect with the right employees is also chanting. There are examples of the gig economy all around us, but making tasks available to high school students is still new. gigapult changes this. Our philosophy is that teens today need better options to start building the type of experience they’ll need in the future. Work is changing, personal wayfinding + human skills are critical, we’re entering a phase of ‘portfolio careers’

Micro-Entrepreneurship: Native Nations Institute (NNI)  (Presenter: Joan Timeche) - NNI works with Native American communities across the nation. Many of those communities are remote and may not have regular access to the communication and knowledge that can so easily be accessed through wi-fi and smartphone devices from those closer to city areas. That means our young Native entrepreneurs need to tap into their creativity to produce businesses that solve problems in their community or produce a product that is needed. The Invention Convention activity helps motivate students to work within a team to create a
product that does not exist. Within their teams, students develop the product and consider their consumers, how and when the product is used, a name, and a sketch of that product. Students then present the idea to the group as a sales pitch to get their product some buy-in from investors and/or the audience. This activity will actively engage students to work collaboratively with their group to design a product unlike anything that anyone has seen before.

Tech Workforce: New Beginnings No Boundaries (Presenters: Melissa Ortiz, Bonnie Acuna) - What would tech look like if the designers came from all walks of life? What would a career in tech look like if you had no boundaries? Learn the importance of a diverse and inclusive
ecosystem in the tech industry and how NB2 can provide informational resources into career possibilities in tech!

New Pathways: Catholic University (Presenters: Bob Keith, Keiran Roche, Brian LeDuc) - What would a business program look like if educators, entrepreneurs, designers, and community members came together to create the degree of the future? Learn more about this exciting new undergraduate program created as a novel pathway to launch entrepreneurially-minded young leaders into their careers in Tucson!