Potomac Forum sets up scholarship program

The Potomac Forum Ltd., an information technology education and training organization, has donated $10,000 to set up a scholarship program for undergraduates seeking careers in IT.

The idea was the brainchild of Arthur Chantker, president of the organization, who wanted a "chance to give back to the community." But it comes at a critical time for federal IT because half of the government's IT workers will be retiring in the next five years.

Even with an increase in outsourcing likely in the next few years, Chantker said, "there has to be a plan for getting good people into government to manage the contracts."

The scholarship is earmarked for an undergraduate in information systems management at the University of Maryland. It will be administered by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management, a government/industry group.

Scott Hastings, the association's president and chief information officer at the Homeland Security Department's Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has established a new initiative for the organization to reach out to campuses to let students know about federal IT careers.

He said he is hoping to convey a new image for government jobs.

"This is not your grandfather's federal government," he said. "It is not a dead end."

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