Another High-Tech Workers Study?

Another High-Tech Workers Study?

Alan Merten

Alan Merten, president of George Mason University, Fairfax, Va., is leading a committee that will conduct a study of U.S. high-technology work force needs over the next 10 years, under an effort sponsored by the National Research Council.

Congress' support of Merten's panel differentiates it from earlier efforts, he told industry and government officials at a Sept. 1 gathering in Fairfax, Va., to hear the results of a recent work force study commissioned by Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore (R).

"There have been many studies as to what the problem is and what should be done. But Congress had concerns that the studies were biased. They wanted a study sponsored by Congress for Congress," said Merten, who is serving as chairman of the Committee on Workforce Needs in Information Technology of the National Research Council.

The committee, formed in July and budgeted at $2 million, will present its findings by October 2000, according to Merten. Its 15 members are drawn largely from academia and industry and will seek to establish a framework for understanding current and future high-tech labor needs, he said.

"We are also trying to assess if there is a shortage and where it is, across the entire country or clustered in certain regions," said Merten, who invited members of the audience to share their perspective on the shortage at www4.nas.edu/cpsma/itwpublic2.nsf/web/homepage.

At its first meeting July 6, the panel examined the findings of earlier work force needs studies. Its next meeting will be held Sept. 22-24 in Santa Clara, Calif., and a third meeting is set for Dec. 8-10 in Boston.

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