Commerce: 1.3 million more IT workers needed

The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that between 1996 and 2006, the United States will require more than 1.3 million highly skilled information technology workers in core occupations such as computer science, engineering, programming and systems analysis.

California, Texas and Virginia are projected to have the largest number of IT workers during that period, according to a report from the agency this week. The three states also lead the country in the number of core IT job openings estimated to occur between 1996 and 2006.

The report indicated that Oregon, Georgia and Colorado have the fastest-growing core IT work force, with Oregon expected to triple its work force and Colorado and Georgia projected to double it between 1996 and 2006.

The report urges state governments to expand IT opportunities by working with businesses, schools and universities to create scholarships for high school and college students as well as workers who can commit to working for a high-technology company in states or regions where the need for IT workers is expanding.

Commerce will launch an advertising campaign next year to help entice American youngsters to consider IT work for future careers. The campaign will include public service announcements, posters and other materials to help dispel negative stereotypes associated with technical fields.

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