Summer 2004

Spotlight: Paul Lamb
by anonymous

Paul Lamb
Paul Lamb is a writer, social entrepreneur, and business consultant. He is founder and Executive Director of Street Tech, winner of the 2002 California Governor's Technology & Innovation Award and the CompTIA 2002 Workforce Development Excellence Award. Paul is a board member and founding partner of the Bay Area Technology and Education Collaborative (BayTEC). He is the former Director of Youth Services at the International Institute of the East Bay, where he developed and implemented school and community-based outreach programs for at-risk and gang youth. Paul has developed numerous youth mentorship programs in California and has a background in international business, having served as Director of Programs and Executive Director of the China Business Forum at the US-China Business Council in Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of Earlham College in Richmond, IN (B.A. political science,1986), The Johns Hopkins-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China (1990), and the University of California, San Diego's Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (MPIA, 1995). Here's Paul's update:

Current Work in Program Design & Content

Current projects include the launching of the ReliaTech social enterprise, expansion of IT-focused workforce training programs at Street Tech, the mapping of a "Technology Roadmap" for California through the Z-Fellows at the California Community Technology Foundation, the expansion of computer training programs in California prisons, the leveraging of social networking as a tool for social justice, and the development of next generation community technology centers.


We have had to deal with an unpredictable IT job market and a growing trend toward the outsourcing of entry level IT work. Our solution is to take matters into our own hands, to be creative about developing alternative models for "insourcing." Rather than complain about the loss of jobs, we have decided to focus our energies on where the next generation opportunities lie, and build practical business models based on those opportunities. In the process I think we can create entirely new models for nonprofit and community sustainability.

Advice for Other Practitioners

Professionalize your endeavors, create best practice standards, and don't give in to despair about the current funding environment. Most importantly, think outside the box about where new opportunities lie and where untapped potential exists.

Opportunities for Growth

I see huge potential in this field. Home technology integration, on-demand computing, VoIP, and other areas are ripe for IT workforce training models that can lead directly to jobs for entry level folks from disadvantaged communities. The challenge is to identify specific opportunities, get out in front of the herd, and keep our eyes focused on the horizon...always. Social enterprise and microenterprise are also two areas that CTC programs have yet to explore and leverage for our communities. There is tremendous potential here.

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