Federal News

New federal initiatives, including millions of dollars in grants to fund both K-12 and adult education programs, were announced in Washington on Jan. 12. The programs, designed to reverse the nationwide shortage of high-tech workers, could give new clout and more money to your technology school-to-work programs.

At least $6 million of the Clinton Administration’s initiatives will go toward school-to-work programs to train students for IT (information technology) careers. Another $3 million will retrain “dislocated” workers to be system operators, electrical engineers, accountants, and “Year 2000” debuggers.

The Labor Department will spend another $8 million to build a world wide web site where employers can post job offerings and workers can post resumes.

The Commerce Department will kick in $17 million to bring technology resources, including training, to those who can’t afford it and to launch a public awareness campaign to glamorize computer-related professions.

State News

Nebraska officials unveiled a plan to provide technical assistance to schools and local governments. Proposed by Gov. Ben Nelson, Lt. Gov. Kim Robak, and state Sen. Joyce Hillman, the plan will empower the Nebraska Information Technology Commission (NITC), which was established in December, to advise schools in the planning and operation of their technology investments. The proposal, to be introduced by Sen. Hillman in the upcoming legislative session, will cost the state about $2.7 million.