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October 2, 2012 Politics-2012 No Comments

» NY Times: Fostering Tech Talent in Schools

Worth noting …

There are likely to be 150,000 computing jobs opening up each year through 2020, according to an analysis of federal forecasts by the Association for Computing Machinery, a professional society for computing researchers. But despite the hoopla around start-up celebrities like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, fewer than 14,000 American students received undergraduate degrees in computer science last year, the Computing Research Association estimates. And the wider job market remains weak.

“People can’t get jobs, and we have jobs that can’t be filled,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s general counsel who oversees its philanthropic efforts, said in a recent interview.

Big technology companies have complained for years about a dearth of technical talent, a problem they have tried to solve by lobbying for looser immigration rules to accommodate more foreign engineers and sponsoring tech competitions to encourage student interest in the industry. Google, for one, holds a programming summer camp for incoming ninth graders and underwrites an effort called CS4HS, in which high school teachers sharpen their computer science skills in workshops at local universities.

This, of course, would go very well alongside of something like an alternate graduation track here in Texas. Kuff’s been all over that debate (follow the links). Imagine students getting teaching in a program like CS4HS while taking vocational high school courses and graduating with computer science certifications of value to regional employers. When you look at why American tech firms outsource to places like Foxconn, the employees they’re getting there aren’t substantially more educated than what I think we could crank out with a system like that.

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