Take A Survey, Help Gateway Technical College Help You
June 24, 2013 Dan Burger
There are two ways to look at the IT skills shortage: macro and micro. Macro is an industry-wide view and micro is how the skills shortage affects the organization where you work. A week ago, in the But Wait There’s More section of The Four Hundred, readers were encouraged to participate in a survey designed to gauge the severity and focal points of the IBM i skills shortage. Equally important was the objective of matching up companies that are searching for talented entry-level workers with IT educations that included IBM i-related skills with the colleges that specialize in that training.
One of the best-known schools for IBM i education is Gateway Technical College in Wisconsin. Jim Buck, who guides the IBM i educational curriculum at Gateway and who is monitoring the survey responses, called me last week to say he had 81 responses from IBM i shops interested in collaborating on skills development and the idea of developing an improved pipeline of talent from two- and four-year colleges to their companies.
Buck is working with IBM‘s Academic Initiative program and with the administrators at Gateway Technical College to apply for a Department of Labor grant that would further the development of a standardized IBM i curriculum that could be implemented at participating colleges and universities. In addition, with the help of the grant money, he plans to develop a “teach the teacher” program that would benefit schools where IBM i curriculum is in demand. Also in his sights is the building of advisory groups–made up of IBM i shops, independent software vendors, and IBM i business partners in the sales channel–at the schools.
Buck describes this as “industry-driven training” and he is emphasizing the role of IBM i shops in the preparation of training and the job placement support following the completion of training.
Receiving surveys from 81 companies in just one week had Buck ecstatic. He admitted that his best-guess estimate one week earlier was that maybe two dozen surveys would be completed. The surveys and the early indication of company interest will be used to support the Department of Labor grant request. Apart from the grant-writing process, Buck plans to contact the companies that participated in the surveys and guide them to colleges that can help them with current hiring needs as well as advice on setting up advisory councils at schools were training can be tailored somewhat to specific skills that are in demand.
Companies interested in helping themselves get connected to a skills pipeline while also helping the IBM i community and their local communities by hiring home grown talent can become participants by taking the survey, which is only a click away.
Do your part. Be helpful.