Like confronting the tax burden after winning the lottery—some problems are better to have than others.

Right now, the school field has a situation a little like that, a challenge inextricably bound up with the current run of national prosperity. Here’s the bittersweet challenge facing schools from Millinocket, Me., to Coronado, Calif.: How to find sufficient human resources in a shriveled employment market.

The shortage of skilled workers now afflicting the school field throbs like a particularly painful toothache, precisely because it comes at just the moment when the need and the means to succeed have swung into a rare, rough alignment.

The robust U.S. economy is generating jobs, growth, and tax revenues without much inflation. A growing majority appreciates the fundamental value of education for society. Everyone pretty much understands that technology is essential to making substantial progress in our schools.

In short, more communities than ever are developing the will and wallet to empower their schools to install innovative, student-centered programs. These achievements absolutely depend on technology-savvy school personnel.

And that’s where the fly hits the marmalade.

Our prospects are darkened by the dearth of talented, trained personnel. The shortage of teachers and administrators that demographers have been predicting for years has finally come to pass. And now, on top of that, is an even more particular worry: a severe shortage of skilled technology personnel, without whom much of the promise of new techniques and solutions in education could go aglimmering.

It isn’t a problem only schools confront, of course. Technology workers are just plain scarce.

According to a study released last month by the American Electronics Association (AEA), the unemployment rate among engineers, programmers, math and computer science majors is less than 2 percent. Since 1993, more than 1 million new technology jobs have been created, and high-tech wages have jumped 19 percent since 1990.

Meanwhile, according to the AEA study, the number of college graduates with high-tech degrees in engineering, computer science, and business information systems declined by 5 percent between 1990 and 1996.

For the national shortage of technology personnel, the ultimate solution is education. First our schools and then our colleges must prepare more students capable of becoming technologists.

But there’s the rub. To accomplish this vital national mission, your schools will need technologists of their own. And just where, exactly, are you supposed to find them?

Education has never had a central clearinghouse for technology employment. eSchool News can’t do much to increase the absolute supply of technology personnel. But we think we can begin to enhance the communication surrounding technology recruitment. We can help your schools become more efficient in your efforts to identify promising prospects for your technology team. So that’s just what we’ve done.

On Aug. 16, we introduced education’s most comprehensive employment service for school technology personnel. Now, simply by visiting the School Technology Career Center at eSchool News Online, school systems may post their technology job openings, and technology personnel may post their resumes. And they can do much more at the center, too.

Free. There’s no cost at all for any aspect of this service. Neither the job seeker nor the employer need spend a penny to benefit from this employment center.

At eSchool News, we have an abiding regard for good technology. But we know this, too: It’s the people behind the machines who make the difference.

Visit the new center: http://www.eschoolnews.org.

Then let me know what you think and how we can make it better.