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Stimulus Package Will Spur New Tech Jobs

Compared with other job sectors, the IT labor force has been holding up relatively well during the recession. And now there's an extra boost -- the government's economic stimulus programs should fuel demand for new tech talent in several key areas.

Compared with other job sectors, the IT labor force has been holding up relatively well during the recession. And now there's an extra boost -- the government's economic stimulus programs should fuel demand for new tech talent in several key areas.In the health IT sector alone, the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs, estimates that there could be about 200,000 new jobs created in the next few years based on demand that's expected to soar for e-health records and related technologies. The economic stimulus package has allotted $19 billion for health IT-related programs, including $17 billion in financial incentives for doctors and hospitals that in a "meaningful" way use e-health records, e-prescribing, and exchange quality reporting data electronically.

The talent pool that has a mix of clinical expertise and IT know-how isn't that big to begin with, and is expected to grow as more doctors and hospitals jump on the e-health bandwagon nationally over the next several years.

John Glaser, CIO of Partners Healthcare, which operates Mass General and Brigham & Women's hospitals in Boston, says turnover in his IT organization has been pretty slow till now, but he expects it to start creeping up as other health care employers hunt for clinical IT expertise.

"There's going to be a land grab of talent reminiscent of the dot-com era," predicts Glaser.

In preparation for the tech hiring binge that's expected in health IT, as well as green computing and grid-related technologies connected to the stimulus programs, CompTIA -- the Computing Technology Industry Association -- already is working on new pacts to help fuel the talent pipeline.

The organization is in discussion with several states, including Michigan and Indiana, about new training programs to help unemployed workers from the auto industry and other manufacturing segments transition into new IT-related careers, says Todd Thibodeaux, CompTIA CEO. Those new educational plans could include discounted training programs for gaining new IT skills as well as alliances with community colleges "to raise visibility" about new IT training opportunities and job prospects, Thibodeaux says.

"There are lots of great opportunities for people to transition into new IT jobs" that will be created through the stimulus package, he says.

Know anyone who's looking to make such a change?

InformationWeek has published an independent analysis of green IT strategies. Download the report here (registration required).

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