NextUp - Creating IT Futures

Inspire Teens

The tech industry is facing a significant shortage of talent. With nearly 1.4 million unfilled job openings a year and millions of tech workers set to retire over the next eight years, that shortage will only grow. Now more than ever, we must attract the next generation of talent into tech occupations — but how?

The skilled labor shortage in tech and other STEM fields has garnered attention and funding from the White House to Silicon Valley to create initiatives that foster teens’ interest in STEM. The “T” in STEM, however, is struggling to gain traction among youth beyond coding or robotics.

We have the ability to inspire the tech workforce of the future, but we must go to the students. Funded by CompTIA and managed by Creating IT Futures, NextUp will introduce teens to the many possibilities of technology careers and guide them to the tech career of their choosing.

Through curricula, projects, partnerships and mentorship, we aim to spark curiosity and passion for technology through meaningful engagement. By connecting teens to the promise of technology today, we hope to build a generation of technologists for tomorrow.

 What do we want to do?

We want to create opportunities for teens, develop excitement for technology, and build a foundational awareness of tech careers in such a way that they will want to pursue a career in the tech industry.

How are we going to do it?
We will support and develop grassroots-level programs that engage kids in grades 6 through 9 with tech within the context of their interests and connect them with mentors who work in the tech industry. We will establish partnerships with existing STEM organizations and by recruiting mentors from CompTIA’s vast network of members and certified professionals.

Where will this lead us?
We will dramatically increase the number of students who are exposed to tech-related roles and activities. We also will create thousands of new relationships between young people and dedicated CompTIA mentors. Our hope is that after students finish middle school, their experiences and the relationships they forged through NextUp will lead them to pursue studies for a tech career.

If you are interested in working with NextUp as a partner, contact Eric Larson, senior director, IT Futures Labs, Creating IT Futures, at If you would like to volunteer as a mentor, contact Joan Matz, senior manager, Creating IT Futures, at Together, we can inspire the next generation of technologists.

Learn more about our NextUp research here.

Creating IT Futures

A 501(c)(3) charity was established in 1998 by CompTIA, the Information Technology Industry Trade Association, as a way to help people improve their lives through IT careers.


We help populations that are under-represented in IT and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure and be successful in IT careers.


Creating IT Futures
c/o CompTIA
3500 Lacey Road, Suite 100
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Phone: (630) 678-8300