Enterprises struggling to find candidates to fill tech roles should turn to internal training to fill talent gaps, Jared Faris, vice president of technology and solutions at technology consulting firm HMB, told TechRepublic at the recent Code PaLOUsa developer’s conference in Louisville, KY.

“The biggest challenge we face as a company is finding good mid- and senior-level developers and other tech professionals,” Faris said. “We end up having to hire a lot of college grads and grow them into that level.”

Companies having a hard time finding tech talent should create a mentor program and work with more junior team members to create a talent pipeline from within, Faris said.

At HMB, the first six months of the mentor program is an investment, with team members learning new skills quickly, Faris said. At the six month to one year point, they begin creating value for the company, but still need the advice of senior leadership to grow and avoid pitfalls. By the two to three year mark, however, they are usually performing extremely well on their own, Faris said.

“To get the best people, you need a culture of innovation and training–good people pull good people in,” Faris said. “It takes investment–you have to think of people as your resource that you’re going to invest in, and spend time and energy growing them, or else they’ll go somewhere else to do something more interesting.”