Team recruits for tech careers

The Defense Information Systems Agency and the National Science Center are combining their resources to try to attract young people to math, science and technology careers.

The federal government and the nation in general are faced with a shortage of personnel in high-tech fields, and DISA and the NSC signed a memorandum of understanding July 30 to help introduce students to technical careers before they enter college, said Maj. Gen. James Bryan, DISA's vice director.

The NSC (www.nscdiscovery.org), a partnership between a nonprofit organization, the National Science Center Inc., and the U.S. Army encourages an interest in math and science careers among youth. DISA, responsible for the command, control, communications and information systems of the Defense Department, will work to include a greater focus on information technology within the NSC.

Research shows that "if you're going to capture the minds and energies of American youth today in math, science, engineering and computers, you have to do it in middle school," Bryan said, adding that it is much more difficult to get them interested later on.

The NSC headquarters, "Fort Discovery" in Augusta, Ga., is a family-oriented math and science center with nearly 300 interactive exhibits and is also the base for several national educational outreach programs. It already houses a computer lab, a science store and other features, including an indoor lightning storm.

DISA intends not only to become involved in the center's existing programs but also help establish new programs and initiatives with an information technology perspective, including "a technology-oriented camp for the kids," where students could learn such things as how to build a Web site or create a robot, said Shannon Teates, a DISA employee helping to support the partnership.

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