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Building a Workforce for the Information Economy
skills that could be addressed by an IT minor or area of concentration, a pool of skilled individuals larger than those of computer science (CS) graduates alone would be available to employers.
Finally, educational institutions can better facilitate the education-to-work transition. Of course, an important part of this transition is teaching skills that can be used in work and providing venues in which those skills can be practiced and enhanced in worklike environments. But equally important is educating workers-to-be about the realities of a changing workplace. Indeed, many of the difficulties encountered by workers in the workplace stem from a mismatch between their expectations and today's marketplace realities.
Another way to facilitate the education-to-work transition is through placement services. Most universities and colleges have placement offices, but an effective job placement operation entails much more effort than is implied by a placement office that does not interact with content-providing departments. Colleges and universities can improve their placement efforts by promoting close and ongoing dialogue between senior academic leaders and local IT employers and by making special efforts to talk up the benefits of hiring nontraditional students.
Expand faculty recruitment pools.
Universities and colleges are seeking to increase permanent faculty in CS undergraduate and graduate programs. However, while research support for faculty seems likely to increase in the future (largely as the result of various new government initiatives to support IT research and development), university administrators are unlikely to allow growth in these programs at the same rate at which demand for IT workers is increasing (especially since they fear that over the long term, traditional tenured appointments in CS may not be justifiable given ups and downs in the demand cycle and may upset the balance among academic departments). And qualified faculty are increasingly difficult to find.
Given such difficulties at all levels, educational institutions will have to consider other options such as the following for faculty recruitment:
Make greater use of adjunct faculty drawn from industry. Students benefit intellectually from contact with teachers with intimate knowledge of business needs (as described above), and often faculty members from industry are prime channels through which students (their own or others) can be placed and/or recruited.
Upgrade the skills of existing faculty. For example, some colleges are training electronics teachers in computer science, drafting instructors