DOE unveils IT hiring plans

With the shortage of high-tech workers increasing, Energy Secretary Bill

Richardson last week announced new initiatives to help train women for technically

skilled jobs.

Citing recent work by the Commission on the Advancement of Women and

Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development, Richardson

said Sept. 6 that the agency must tap into a workforce in which women will

be the majority in just a few years.

Experts have been warning for some time that the current shortage of high-tech

workers in the United States will only worsen. Over the next year alone,

the shortfall is expected to reach 850,000, according to the Information

Technology Association of America.

"Women today — young women still in school and those who already are

on their career paths — cannot lose sight of the many opportunities in science

and technology that beg for their involvement," Richardson said.

His initiatives include:

* A database for lab directors, contractors and managers to monitor

progress toward equal opportunities in the workforce.

* Aggressive outreach to recruit and retain women and minorities in high-tech

jobs.

* More programs to teach hands-on science education.

* Mentoring programs with scientists to encourage more women to enter

technology fields.

Since Richardson has been at the Energy Department, nearly half of all

political appointees have been women, and more than 80 percent of DOE's

$17.3 billion budget is managed by women.

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