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March 2024 TechCast | Workforce Development: From Education to International Innovation

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In this episode of AZ TechCast, hosts Karen Nowicki and Leslie Marquez engage in a dynamic conversation with a panel of experts representing organizations like PMI Phoenix Chapter, Proctorio Inc., Digitanity, and Pipeline AZ. Together, they dive into the intricacies of workforce development, exploring strategies to connect K-12 students with career pathways and navigate the evolving landscape of international hiring and local talent cultivation. With a keen focus on bridging the gap between job seekers and employers, the discussion underscores the importance of equipping the future workforce with both soft and hard skills, emphasizing adaptability and continuous learning.

As the conversation unfolds, Amber Smith, Milan Dordevic, and Dane Vignjevic provide valuable insights into various facets of workforce development. They highlight the significance of early career inspiration for students, the need for innovative approaches to education beyond traditional degrees, and the role of international hiring in fostering growth and innovation. Furthermore, they discuss the evolving nature of project management and the rise of micro-credentialing as key trends shaping the future of the tech industry.

Overall, the episode paints a vivid picture of an interconnected ecosystem where education providers, employers, and individuals converge to shape the trajectory of the workforce, offering optimism for the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

Milan Dordevic MBA, PMP is a certified project management expert and leader, author, speaker, and business and technology mentor for high-tech start-ups. His expertise is in complex & remote project and product management, organizational development, and change, all of which he has gained over the course of 15 years. Through dynamic leadership and vision, he is driving business and product innovation, automation, digitalization, program efficiency, and scaling agility in the organization.

Prior to joining Proctorio, Milan managed multi-million dollar cutting-edge software development projects in the areas of Cloud computing, Software for Autonomous Vehicles, Internet of Things, Entertainment, and Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) across the globe.

He also serves as Board Director at Project Management Institute Phoenix Chapter, The PMO Leader America’s ambassador, SeedSpot venture mentor, and active member at IEEE, PMI, PMO Global, Scrum Alliance, Scaled Agile, and LeSS. In December 2022 at the Internet 2.0 Conference, he received the “Outstanding Leadership Award” for his contribution to the Technology Field. And in 2023 Milan was on the cover page of CIO Business Words Magazine as the Top 10 most Expert Tech Leaders.

For over 20 years, Amber Smith has been serving the Tucson community in a variety of roles beginning her career working for the late
Senator John McCain. Guided by a north star to serve and lead, Amber has worked in a variety of industries and roles ranging from government affairs to CEO all with the common thread of supporting and strengthening communities and economic development. In her
current role as CEO for Pipeline AZ., she’s focused on reducing poverty, by growing access to career exploration and pathways for children and adults alike by disrupting the workforce development space connecting the ecosystem where job seeker skills align with industry needs.

Amber is Chair-Elect for the Pima College Foundation Board, a board member for Higher Ground and was a Founding Board Member/Past Chair of the Southern Arizona Defense Alliance. Amber graduated from the University of Arizona (twice) and her favorite moments are with her menagerie of pets, her 3 sons and husband on an adventure somewhere preferably where there is a body of water and mountains.

Dane Vignjevic is an entrepreneur whose multifaceted career is a testament to his adaptability and drive. His journey, rooted in a first-generation immigrant family, spans from hands-on electrical work to establishing his own textile business. Currently, he shines as a
Partner at Digitanity, where he brings forth innovative solutions for global team staffing and development.

Boasting over 15 years of IT consulting experience, Dane has mastered the art of nearshore/offshore development, advocating for the build-operate-transfer model to minimize client risk. His acumen in web and e-commerce development, UI/UX consulting, and virtual team management underlines his mission to connect enterprises with the elite tech talent, catalyzing their success across various industries including fashion, sports, HR, and cybersecurity.

Milan Dordevic
Proctorio, PMI Phoenix

Amber Smith
Pipeline AZ

Dane Vignjevic
Intero Digital



About AZTechCast
The official podcast of the Arizona Technology Council, AZTechCast is dedicated to covering innovation and technology in Arizona and beyond. Through the art of the connected conversation, AZ TechCast’s hosts and guests share success stories, tech news and analysis about the region’s leading startups, companies and emerging technologies, as well as the latest industry trends and critical issues propelling Arizona’s growing technology ecosystem. Visit to learn more or to listen to recent episodes.

About Phoenix Business RadioX
Karen Nowicki is the owner and president of Phoenix Business RadioX. Amplifying the voice of business, Phoenix Business RadioX helps local businesses and professional associations get the word out about the important work they’re doing to serve their market, profession and community. A successful author, speaker and the creator of Deep Impact Leadership™ and SoulMarks Coaching™, Nowicki is a two-time recipient of the prestigious national Choice Award® for her book and personal development retreat. In addition, Nowicki has been an expert guest on regional TV and radio shows, including Fox Phoenix Morning Show, Sonoran Living, Good Morning Arizona, The Chat Room and Mid-Day Arizona. Recognized for her leadership and business acumen, she has been a regular contributor to many print and online magazines – publishing articles and blogs for business and education.


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