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Government Bolsters IT Initiatives

Examples of the U.S. government's current IT development initiatives.

July 1, 1998
The U.S. government has been playing an increasingly active role in an effort to promote the information technology profession. Spurred on by the Arlington, Virginia-based Infor-mation Technology Association of America (ITAA) and other concerned industry groups, the Departments of Education, Commerce and Labor have issued reports, generated publicity, and sponsored major conferences to address the issue. Major funding and other incentive programs have also been launched.

Here are examples of the U.S. government’s current IT development initiatives:

President’s Educational Technology Initiative

This initiative is designed to encourage the advancement of technological literacy among all students by the beginning of the century. The four specific goals of the program, called the "Four Pillars" are:

  • Modern computers and learning devices will be accessible to every student.
  • Classrooms will be connected to one another and to the outside world.
  • Educational software will be an integral part of the curriculum—and as engaging as the best video game.
  • Teachers will be ready to use and teach with technology.

Other government steps include:

  • Expanding industry involvement in school-to-work: The Department of Education and the Department of Labor will provide up to $6 million in grants for industry groups that expand private-sector involvement in school-to-work. This will give more young Americans the academic and vocational learning they need to pursue high-skill, high-wage jobs in industries such as IT.

  • Upgrading the skills of the existing workforce: The Labor Department will invest $3 million in demonstration projects—in partnership with employers and training providers—to train dislocated workers for high-tech jobs.
  • Continuing the national dialogue: The Department of Commerce will convene four town-hall meetings this year where representatives of business, academia, state and local governments, and employee organizations can discuss IT workforce needs; identify best practices; and showcase successful models that others can replicate.
  • Promoting the use of technology in teaching and learning: The De-partment of Education established a $2 billion Technology Literacy Challenge Fund. The fund will be distributed over a five-year period. The 1998 disbursement was in the amount of $425 million to the state.

Workforce, July 1998, Vol. 77, No. 7, p. 56.