We hope you’ve heard of the podcast that Career Communications Group or CCG is hosting. CCG’s one-hour show is called High-Tech Sunday, and the newest episode features Jem Pagán, who spoke on “the new normal” and what it means seven months after COVID-19 emerged.

Pagán discussed the challenges people are experiencing during the recession with social distancing, how we are all embracing change, and where to unlock training, certifications, and the workforce skills needed to reset and rise.

Quite appropriately, “Reset and Rise: The World Is Counting On Us” is the theme of CCG’s Women of Color STEM Conference, which is less than 90 days away. Click here for more information on the 2020 Women of Color STEM Conference and how you can attend both virtually and in-person.

“The blended IT (information technology) professional is really the professional that has business acumen, insight into automation, and workflow processes. They understand organizational management,” Pagán said.

Starting at Morgan State University’s School of Engineering, where Pagán studied, he spent about ten years working for Dr. Eugene M. DeLoatch, a distinguished engineering professor and the first African American to serve as president of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).

DeLoatch was awarded the title of dean emeritus in 2018. Pagán said while working for DeLoatch he had the opportunity to facilitate corporate partnerships, do grant writing, as well as advanced research, infrastructure redesign, and deployments.

Recognizing Dr. DeLoatch as a “giant in the field” Dr. Mark Vaughn asked what someone who has spent most of his career in the corporate world was making of disruption. Since 2010, Pagán has served as president of Blusky Consulting, JNKs director of technology strategy, and the director of Flatiron Strategies in New York City, which accounted for roughly 5 percent of  coronavirus cases.

The new normal “is the new buzzword, for sure,” Pagán said. “My initial thoughts center on the fact that the new normal is a more rapid pace of change that we have been thrust into because of the pandemic,” he added. “I would define the new normal as an inability to leverage traditional means of commuting and working, and embarking upon a new concept for what it means to be an enterprise workforce.”

Pagán said remote and teleworking has increased substantially since February. “Understanding how to deliver products, goods, and services to customers requires us to think outside of the box,” he continued. “The new normal really comes down to a consistent state of innovation against the unknown that allows us to center on those principles that have gotten us this far,” he said.

Forecasting that this period might run for several more months, Pagán said patience and positivity are the two characteristics that we’re all going to need. “Change is inevitable and the rate of change is the major factor here,” he noted. He acknowledged however that the pandemic has impacted the livelihoods of client-facing employees the most.

“The service industry, dine-in restaurants, hotels, airlines, malls, bodegas, small shops, small businesses, and franchises are most impacted right now in terms of access to customers. I believe they are anxiously waiting,” he said.

Pagán encouraged everyone to use the time to retool and look at hobbies that can be turned into revenue opportunities. Thinking outside the box might sound cliche, he agreed, but it’s one of the best pieces of advice that have been carried by multiple generations from the early inception of the United States.

“It’s been a constant, innovative look into the future,” he said, adding that for those struggling with rent and utility bills he would advise taking advantage of any assistance that’s available. ” But while that assistance is being provided, look at where you want to pivot in your career,” he said.

Pagán agreed that not everyone wants a technology job, and he pointed to lucrative opportunities like content management, testers, and other areas that don’t require a technical degree or technical experience.

“Take advantage also of the attitude you have as a consumer of technology and the attitude to make money from it,” Pagán said.

Each week on Career Communications Group’s High Tech Sunday podcast, we speak with leaders in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

In Episode 1, Dr. Mark Vaughn, manager, Technical Talent Pipelining for Corning Inc.’s Technology Community, spoke about personal and economic loss during the pandemic. He also talked about how technology was helping everyday people, communities, and the human space industry, where he started in as an intern, reset and rise.

In Episode 2, Dr. Pamela McCauley, the 2019 Women of Color STEM Conference Technologist of the Year, spoke about her research on body-worn cameras and videos. She also spoke about her work with personal protective equipment, or PPE, which help to minimize exposure to COVID-19.

An advocate for representation of women of color, and more achievement, fairness, and opportunity in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Dr. McCauley is currently the associate dean of academic programs in the Wilson College of Textiles at North Carolina State University.

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