Report: Feds must work on IT worker shortage

"Building a Workforce for the Information Economy"

The federal government should play an active role in alleviating the tight

labor market for information technology workers, according to a report by the

National Research Council released Tuesday.

Multiple approaches are necessary to relieve the IT worker shortage,

including better training programs and changes in immigration policy, according

to the report, "Building a Workforce for the Information Economy." The government,

employers, employees and academic institutions must all play a role in solving

the problem, it said.

Among the recommendations in its report, the academy specifically called

on policymakers to:

* Provide incentives, such as funding, to employers to increase training.

* Collect more timely, distinct data on dimensions of the IT workforce

to replace existing data that does not provide enough detail.

* Support research directed toward reducing shortages in the IT labor

market by addressing areas such as organizing work for improved productivity

and developing structured assessment tools specialized for IT jobs.

* Make H1-B visas portable so temporary foreign technology workers can

more easily change jobs.

* Streamline the green card process.

* Be more flexible in compensation and recruiting methods.

* Make more resources available for training federal IT workers and

raise investment in IT training to match the private sector.

The study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and NASA.

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