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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release January 12, 1998
                       VICE PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES PLAN 
                       TO EXPAND INFO-TECH WORKFORCE 

                 Administration Proposes to Expand Industry 
                  Involvement, Upgrade Skills of Workforce

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Al Gore today (1/12) announced a series of Administration actions to help meet the growing demand for workers with information technology skills.

The initiatives I am announcing today will help ensure that America has the best information technology workforce in the world, the Vice President said. Information technology is the engine of the new economy, and it is critical that American workers are prepared to take advantage of these new high-skill, high-wage jobs.

Today's announcement came as Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, Education Secretary Richard Riley, and Deputy Labor Secretary Kitty Higgins met with industry executives, educators, and labor leaders in Berkeley, California, to discuss America's information technology (IT) workforce. According to Labor Department projections, the demand for computer scientists, engineers, and systems analysts will double over the next 10 years -- an increase of more than one million high-skill, high-wage jobs. Today, many employers report difficulty in recruiting enough workers with these skills.

Specific steps taken by the Administration include:

Expanding industry involvement in school-to-work: The Department of Education and the Department of Labor will provide up to $6 million in grants for industry groups that expand private-sector involvement in school-to-work. This will give more young Americans the academic and vocational learning they need to pursue high-skill, high-wage jobs in industries such as IT.

Upgrading the skills of the existing workforce: The Labor Department will invest $3 million in demonstration projects -- in partnership with employers and training providers -- to train dislocated workers for high-tech jobs.

Continuing the national dialogue: The Department of Commerce will convene four town-hall meetings this year where representatives of business, academia, state and local governments, and employee organizations can discuss IT workforce needs; identify best practices; and showcase successful models that others can replicate.

The Vice President also challenged educators and industry leaders to redouble their efforts to strengthen America's IT workforce.

Encouraging women and minorities to pursue careers in information technology, upgrading the skills of the existing workforce, and ensuring that our children excel in math and science will require new commitments from all of us, the Vice President said. America's success in the new economy depends on it.