re: How To Close The IT Skills Gap
The entire approach is wrong in the U.S. - it isn't about degrees and shouldn't be - that's essentially a guild system for what has become a hyper competitive global economy, and is obviously a very big part of the problem. We are competing with countries and regions operating at a fraction of our cost basis and delivering better education AND training at a much lower cost, delivering better healthcare at a much lower cost, much less expensive legal system, and increasingly more functional government-- all at much lower costs while the U.S. has been dropping off the cliff in most of the relevant ratings.
So we need to start asking the unpopular questions and more important delivering the answers that have already been demonstrated to work. To highlight just how dysfunctional our political system is in the U.S. today - the financial crisis was caused in part by monetary policy in response to not fixing structural problems much earlier (Greenspan in his book paraphrase "we looked to housing to save the economy" - post 9/11), but no one ever quite got around to the long-term problems, including the past four years when record amounts of 'stimulus', QE 1, 2, and now infinity.
Now every country must differentiate and play to its strengths, and the U.S. has a lot of them, but the Germans went through something actually quite similar a decade+ earlier, adopting programs that require industrial training tied to actual demand for unemployment or other gov't assistance, a focus on advanced trade craft and skills rather than just liberal education, many of which in the U.S. became party schools and degrees meaningless while costs soared and empires expanded. Some of the programs are fine- community colleges, etc., but we've borrowed 6 trillion $ in four years and 5 trillion $ in previous admin, the vast majority of which not only didn't begin to solve the structural problems facing the U.S. relative to competitiveness, but in many cases protects the very source of the problem - incomes continue to fall, real unemployment is in double digits, and real cost of living continues to climb.
As for MSFT - they have been investing $10 billion+ per year on R&D consistently. Why on earth haven't they and others invested in training and create the type of products my late partner did with others in a very small group at MS that still creates almost all of the profit 30 years later? Are they really a good source for a quote on this challenge given their own very well known challenges in innovation? The MS of 1980-1985 would have been (Look at what Bill and Steve were saying then--quite a different story).
The early MS well understood that big (then Blue) isn't necessarily beautiful and often isn't. This would be a very good place to restart this conversation in America where our culture's response to too big to fail was additional consolidation. Whatever well we've been drinking from is causing an awful lot of dysfunction and disease -- we best start seeking new sources while we still have time -- just as Germany did -- their specific solutions won't work for us, but they worked incredibly well for them -- we should follow a similar process and develop a tailored plan, before it's literally too late.