CIOs Should Teach High SchoolCIOs Should Teach High School
<i>The Wall Street Journal</i> had an article yesterday about corporations funding high-school curricula, particularly in accounting, engineering, and science. Bravo, I say. Not only that, CIOs should make a point of getting involved in these kinds of activities: teaching -- or at least visiting -- high school classes.
March 7, 2008
The Wall Street Journal had an article yesterday about corporations funding high-school curricula, particularly in accounting, engineering, and science. Bravo, I say. Not only that, CIOs should make a point of getting involved in these kinds of activities: teaching -- or at least visiting -- high school classes.The call for private sector involvement in the educational system, for the purpose of encouraging and supporting interest in science and engineering, has been going on for as long as I've been writing about technology -- a good 20 years or so. But that call for action, outside of some local funding and a lot of boxes of Microsoft software, has remained mostly lip service.
So I was encouraged by the Wall Street Journal article, which describes efforts on the part of Cisco, Deloitte, Intel, and others to create and fund curricula related to their various disciplines. Support like this not only gives local school systems needed help, both morally and financially, it raises awareness of those career avenues, giving kids a realistic idea of what's available in the job market and what it takes to be successful there. Not to mention an actual push forward, career-wise. The main objection was that the companies involved in this practice focused their curricula very specifically on what they needed in a potential workforce -- material on propulsion, for example, from Rolls Royce. This isn't much of an objection, I don't think. The classes are electives, and nobody is denying these students the basics in reading and writing to focus on fluid dynamics. CIOs take note: Rather than wring your hands over the shortfall in IT talent and the coming technology brain drain, you should get involved in efforts like this. Reaching out directly to high school students to explain what IT is, its vital function in business and society, and the interesting and challenging careers available in IT -- including that of CIO -- would go a long way toward fixing some of the imbalance we have when it comes to young people and their career aspirations and choices.
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