CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, has announced an agreement with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and other organizations to develop and utilize the over-50 working population. The new coalition, which will be called the Alliance for an Experienced Workforce, is designed to deal with the projected shortfall of skilled workers in the United States in the next decade and beyond.
“From 2006 on, it’s hiring time,” said John Venator, CompTIA president and CEO. “By 2012, more than 21 million new jobs are expected to be created in the United States. What’s really interesting and kind of scary is that 17 million new workers will enter the workforce. Many of these new jobs will be in the technology field. There’s basically a skills gap there, and that’s one reason why CompTIA’s been so aggressive. That’s why we’re so excited about this AARP program. It’s fits in perfectly with some of our objectives, and we’re very pleased that AARP recognizes that IT is an area where a lot of senior workers can be reskilled and brought into, or might be in it currently and be able to upskill into new careers.”
Venator predicted that many older workers would be employed in non-traditional means such as part-time, flexible-hour arrangements or job sharing. He also suggested that they could make up a significant part of the gap between available workers and job growth in areas such as networking, database, apps development, project management and support. “Help desk and user support is the perfect area for someone who is one of two things: coming in at the entry level or a senior person who doesn’t want the responsibility of a higher-level job but clearly has the capability or can be skilled,” Venator said.
Another benefit of keeping individuals age 50 and up in the workforce is retention of the experience and the non-technical knowledge they possess. “They not only have the technical knowledge, but they also have the organizational knowledge,” Venator explained. “They’ve been in management, have more people skills and time management skills. Project management is a good example. We find that people with all the know-how about IT projects are generally at the older end of the age spectrum. Project managers are usually the workers with the most experience, and I think the same is probably true for CIOs, CTOs and information security officers. Those jobs are pretty critical.”
“Maybe as a senior person, I don’t have to know how to configure a wireless network, but I know why the network we have was configured the way it was and how it fits into our business plan,” added Steven Ostrowski, CompTIA’s director of corporate communications. “That’s the kind of knowledge that walks out the door when the workers leave.”
For more information, see http://www.comptia.org.