While many CIOs would prefer that academic institutions shoulder more of the burden of inculcating business skills in newly minted IT workers, those same CIOs and their companies must be willing to play an active role in influencing and guiding the education of their future IT staffs.
John Sargent, senior technology policy analyst with the U.S. Department of Commerce, recently met with a group of CIO Executive Council members to brief them on how the government views the supply and demand of IT workers, and offered some helpful hints on how employers can get involved right now.
- Participate in employer surveys about skills and the IT labor market.
- Encourage your IT staff to serve as part-time faculty at universities and continuing-education programs.
- Participate in university advisory boards and committees.
- Participate in workforce investment boards.
- Participate in cooperative work-study programs (to develop long-term relationships with students and shape their education).
- Sponsor summer work, internships, and employment sabbaticals for college faculty.
- Work with other national-level associations on IT skills efforts.
- Sponsor rotation and exchange programs for industry IT scientists, engineers and university faculty.
- Encourage partnerships between company IT professionals and faculty counterparts.
- Lend knowledge and advice for technical curriculum development (make company technical professionals available to schools for this purpose and to serve as ongoing source of expertise and advice).