WASHINGTON, June 6, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Early classroom exposure to information technology (IT) and expanded apprentice and internship programs for people entering the job market can go a long way in keeping the country supplied with a deep reservoir of technology workers, according to CompTIA, the non-profit association for the IT industry.
In conjunction with National Small Business Week June 17-21, CompTIA is spotlighting several of the issues affecting its small business members and offering solutions to address those challenges.
Like many technology companies, ASI System Integration, Inc., a New York City-based IT systems integration company, often finds itself challenged in finding enough workers with the right technical skills to keep pace with customer demand.
"The need is there, but the resources are not," said Angel Pineiro, senior vice president, services, for ASI. "We are feeling it, especially in trying to grow our business."
Pineiro related that ASI recently won a contract for a year-long technology migration project at multiple locations across the United States. The project requires upward of 100 technicians.
"If the project were only in the New York metro area it would be a piece of cake for us," he said. "The problem is that other U.S. cities and more rural areas lack access to workforce development and IT training resources.
"We also have an internal technical internship program to get new hires the experience they need," he added. "We team them up with an experienced engineer and technician and they will shadow this person for some time."
Pineiro and ASI are strong proponents of the wider use of apprentice and intern programs.
The longer term solution is to "bring technical education and experience to the public school system at an earlier age; maybe as early as elementary school and certainly high school," according to Pineiro.
"Technology is a career that's very diverse, but the only way the next generation is going to truly be aware of technology as a career path is to add it to the curriculum," he said. "Begin by educating the kids in elementary school. By high school they will be more aware of their career choices. We are in a different era today, but education has not kept up with the changes. We need to wake up."
- An increased focus on STEM education at all levels.
- Stronger linkages between education, on-the-job training and work-based learning.
- Additional funding for training and, where relevant, certification of workers.
- Professionalization of the U.S. cybersecurity workforce.