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TECHIESDAY SUMMIT DETERMINES THREE GOALS FOR DELIVERING A SKILLED TECHNOLOGY WORKFORCE
Washington, DC – October 4, 2000 – The first annual Premier Workforce Development Summit co-hosted by TechiesDay (www.techiesday.org), the nationwide initiative that addresses our nation’s increasing demand for a qualified technology workforce, and the National Chamber Foundation, gathered major influencers in education, government and technology yesterday in Washington D.C. to uncover best practices and create long-term solutions for preparing young people for careers in technology. With over 200 people in attendance and presentations by some of the most respected thought-leaders on the subject, three specific goals were raised among the many discussions throughout the session.
Luminaries at the Summit included The Honorable Norman Mineta, Secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce; The Honorable Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), United States Senate; Michael Fleisher, CEO, Gartner; Shelby Bonnie, CEO, CNET; Dan Frawley, CEO, techies.com; and Gene Longo, Director of U.S. Operations, Cisco Networking Academy.
The GirlGeeks TechiesDay Webcast, which hosted live roundtable discussions about women in technology, includes excerpts from the Summit in Washington D.C. and can be found at www.girlgeeks.com.
Goal #1: Access for Every Child, Everywhere
According to a study released by Gartner on TechiesDay entitled “The Digital Divide and American Society,” only 35% of the lowest socioeconomic group has access to the Internet today. Although programs such as E-Rate have made it possible for 75% of all classrooms to be wired (source: Department of Education), it is futile unless every student is provided with a computer to use both in the classroom and at home. In order to achieve this goal to provide every student with a computer, it is estimated that it will cost $5 billion per year for the next five years. Programs like Project SOAR’s “Take Home a Computer Program,” which delivered new laptop computers to students in Oakland, California on TechiesDay, are helping with ongoing efforts to provide technology to every child across the nation.
Goal #2: Empower the Education and Business Communities to Work Together
In the Summit’s Executive Roundtable: Best Practices to Create a 21st Century Workforce, all participants agreed that it is incumbent upon the corporate sector to provide training and mentoring to students alongside their teachers. According to Peter Crosby, Chairman, GirlsGeeks, in a survey of 1,000 CEOs, 44% said that the mentoring they received was a major contributor to their success. Phyllis Eisen, Executive Director, Center for Workforce Success, National Association of Manufacturers adds, “There are three things we need in order to build bridges between education and commerce — leadership, partnership, and demands on the leaders and partners to make a difference.” Ira Fishman, CEO, HiFusion believes that, “a new common language must be developed so that educators, government agencies and the business community can get on the same page and discover integrated solutions.”
Goal #3: Provide Teacher Training and Integrate Technology into the Classroom
Gregg Betheil, National Director, Academy of Information Technology reported during a breakout session on Training Teachers to Tap Technology, that one school in New York City spent $1 million to make computers available to its students. However, besides one social studies teacher with a passion for technology, there was no one able or willing to use computers in the classroom. Summit attendees agreed that public funding must be made available to train teachers and hire IT professionals to maintain and provide the infrastructure needed to create an e-education network. In addition, there was discussion about the fact that educators are risk-adverse when it comes to incorporating new programs and curriculums into the system. But in this new age of technology, “we need to totally reinvent education in the face of technology, rather than just use it as a medium to communicate. It is not enough to digitize an old textbook. We need new curriculum created specifically for this new medium,” as stated by John Litton, Youth and Learning Manager, Microsoft.
Also on TechiesDay, Gartner’s E-Government Seminar “How to Leverage the Power of G” followed in the Capitol Building. Topics included Gartner’s new report, “The Digital Divide and American Society,” the challenges in growing e-government applications, and the “dark side” of the Internet as it relates to privacy and taxation. According to Gartner, $20 billion will be spent on e-government initiatives within the next five years.
TechiesDay, to take place on Oct. 3, 2000, is a nationwide initiative that addresses our nation’s increasing demand for a qualified technology workforce. TechiesDay was co-founded by CNET Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq:CNET), the leading content network providing news and information to buyers and sellers around the world, and techies.com, inc. (www.techies.com), the national authority on the technology workforce providing solutions that help companies plan for, acquire, and retain their technology workers. TechiesDay seeks to create technology career awareness, readiness, response, and achievement among students in grades K-12, while recognizing technology professionals’ contributions to education. In addition to CNET and techies.com, TechiesDay sponsors include AOL, Atomic Tangerine, BestBuy.com, Compaq, Gartner, GirlGeeks, Microsoft, Saba, Scientific Learning Corporation, TECH CORPS and T.H.E Journal. To find out more about TechiesDay 2000, visit www.techiesday.org.
About the National Chamber Foundation
The National Chamber Foundation, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, has as its mission to drive the policy debate on key issues by formulating arguments, developing options and influencing thinking in an effort to move the American business agenda forward. The Foundation serves policymakers and the business community by providing a forum where leaders can consider and advance new ideas that benefit American business. For more information on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation, visit www.uschamber.com.