Western hosts advisory panel to address skilled worker shortage
Published on Thursday, November 29, 2007
LA CROSSE, Wis. – Continued demand for Information Technology (IT) graduates has prompted Western Technical College to work with area companies to help address the unmet need for skilled workers with IT skills. In order to address some of the challenges area employers are experiencing, Western is hosting a panel discussion on Thursday, December 6 from 5:15-6:30 p.m. with employers from throughout the district. The discussion will be held in the Academic Resource Center, room 200, on the La Crosse Campus.
“The goal of the panel discussion is to find a way to work together to address the skilled worker shortage and get people interested in pursuing a career in IT,” says Denine Rood, dean of the Business Division at Western. “Western provides the graduates these employers need, but not enough to meet the demand.”
Currently, Western offers three IT programs: IT-Computer Support Specialist, IT-Network Specialist, and IT-Programmer/Analyst.
“Employers have indicated that they are having difficulty finding competent candidates for IT positions,” said Rood. “Because outsourcing affected some people and some companies in the past, many people believe that jobs aren’t available in information technology. In fact, there are many jobs available.”
According to Karol Parr, Student Employment Services technician, in the past 12 months, there have been 93 full-time job openings and 53 part-time openings posted on the TechConnect site for Computer Support Specialists, Network Specialists, and Programmer/Analysts in the Western Technical College District. Out-of-district job orders for full-time openings reached 555, while there were 30 openings for part-time employees. In 2006, Western had 35 graduates in its IT programs.
Representatives attending the panel discussion include: Don Weber, chairman and CEO, Logistics Health, Inc.; Bill Berg, president and CEO, Dairyland Power Cooperative; Frank Vierling, chief operations officer, Midwest Security/United Healthcare; Paul Allen, CIO, Franciscan Skemp Healthcare; Lori Niebuhr, director of Human Resources, Century Foods; and Sal Sorrentino, information technology director, Trane.
For more information about IT programs at Western, please call 608.785.9200 or visit the Web site at westerntc.edu.
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