Keeping IT Education on Track
Let me share a bit of news with you. But be careful: I’m going to want something in return.
Throughout all the troubles the IT industry and certified professionals have seen over the past few years–from downsizing to outsourcing–there have been more than a few calls for government intervention. Clearly not all those calls have been heeded, but at least one helping hand is in the works.
On May 20, Congressman Jerry Weller (R-Ill.) and other legislators introduced House Resolution 4392, The Technology Retraining and Investment Now Act of 2004. The TRAIN Act is intended to offer IT workers and their employers a tax credit for technology training, including IT certification.
Calling IT education “the best long-term solution to meet the shortage of skilled IT workers and keep technology-based jobs here in the United States,” Weller cited the tax credit as an opportunity for veterans wanting to upgrade skills, and aspiring IT and communications professionals.
The TRAIN Act also applies to employers who invest in employee training. That’s a wisely growing number, with employers funding workforce learning and development to the tune of more than $70 billion a year.
OK, I’m sure we can all agree that every bit helps, and Weller and the other legislators should be applauded for their assistance. Add to the kudos organizations that have supported and lobbied for advantages like this for years, most notably CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association. CertMag columnist Martin Bean, the COO of New Horizons Computer Learning Centers, chairs CompTIA’s public policy committee, and he’s right when he compares IT skills to the raw materials needed for America’s infrastructure. CompTIA’s COO, Brian McCarthy, also hit the nail on the head when he testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, saying that promoting IT training incentives is integral to business development and growth.
Of course, the road from resolution to your 1040 can be long and hazardous, and that’s where the payback part comes in. “If you’re not part of the problem, you’re part of the solution” is hardly an original thought, but it’s especially apt for presidential election years, when your voice is heard the loudest.
That’s all I’m asking here: Speak up. Write your legislators and urge their support for TRAIN and other laws and policies that affect your career.
And while you’re writing, feel free to share your thoughts with our editors and other CertMag readers at firstname.lastname@example.org.