Letter to the editor

Somewhere in our nation's laws it says something about various forms of discrimination in hiring people. There is also some new legislation allegedly about something called "accountability," albeit in a corporate setting, not in government.

It is a wonderful thing that Uncle Sam is encouraging kids to study computer security, but not so wonderful that it is done by essentially bribing them to do it ["Cybercorps to extend to states"]. Add to this that there are a large number of already highly educated people with extensive knowledge of computer security out of work (myself included), and you get what appears to be a government policy biased toward "young and cheap" — precisely what our highly "accountable" corporate America has been doing for years.

Is this the example our leaders want to set, preserving the stereotype about "teaching old dogs new tricks"? If students aren't interested in studying something without advance knowledge of getting money for school in exchange for it, we have cheapened our educational system to the level of all the corporate execs who may yet end up in jail for various forms of greed and mismanagement.

It is especially disheartening that the government does not make a more serious effort to talk to, and not simply review the resumes of, experienced people that have applied for such positions already.

The U.S. government and corporate America have repeatedly mentioned the current and future need for people skilled in mathematics and the sciences. Many people involved in human resources functions across the country, however, do not seem able to grasp what a good mix of mathematics, science and technology skills is for their employer's needs, and thus a great pool of talent is being wasted, along with their wealth of acquired business knowledge. Perhaps the economy would improve at a much greater rate if we knew how to hire people more effectively, and not simply go for "young and cheap."

The need to structure education for future requirements is clear, but on the way to the future we can travel a truer and more ethical path by igniting interest in math and science on their own merits by instilling the joy of learning, which each discipline requires if you are going to make a career out of it. The money will come in due course to those who cherish the process of discovery throughout their lives.

Tom Plemich
Arlington Heights, Ill.


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