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Building a Workforce for the Information Economy
Council has recommended that the Office of Personnel Management prepare a program to develop better managers and supervisors for new IT workers who may have many nontraditional work preferences. Such measures are a helpful step that will nurture a next generation of IT workers.
8.3.6 For Joint Action
While federal and state governments, companies, and academia can do more individually to relieve the tightness in the IT labor market, cooperation among these groups is also necessary on a national and regional basis. These constituencies need leadership and motivation to work together, and this can best be provided by the federal and state governments. Examples of actions that can be taken are described below.
Promote awareness of and interest in IT careers.
Stimulating awareness of and interest in IT careers should engage both the public and private sectors. For example, the Department of Commerce noted in mid-1999 the need for greater awareness of opportunities, reporting on an apparent need to improve the image of IT jobs to attract young people22 and launching an initiative to promote better image-making through the mass and entertainment media as well as renewing emphasis on K-12 education as the time and place to stimulate interest in IT careers. Stimulating youth interest in IT careers has, of course, long been the province of relevant professional societies, and concern about labor market tightness has further stimulated such efforts. The Association for Computing Machinery and the Computer Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which represent both Category 1 and Category 2 IT workers, as well as other organizations more focused on Category 2 IT workers, have long been involved in planning for education, mentoring, and youth outreach, including programs for disadvantaged youth as well as youth generally. Professional societies aggregate information about IT careers, education, and training at the national (or international) level and publish it; many outreach activities are developed and undertaken at local levels and in communities. These efforts may provide a useful platform or social network on which to build.
Meares, Carol Ann, and John F. Sargent, Jr. 1999. The Digital Work Force: Building Infotech Skills at the Speed ofInnovation. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Commerce, June.