• United States
Contributing Writer

IT training gets a boost from Washington

Jun 02, 20043 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsIT Skills

* Technology Retraining and Investment Now Act of 2004

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that within the next decade, more than 20 million new jobs will be created and a large portion of those will require some sort of technology skills.

This statistic is the impetus behind a bill introduced last week on Capitol Hill that targets IT training. Called the “Technology Retraining and Investment Now Act of 2004,” or TRAIN, the legislation allows for U.S. citizens – employed or unemployed – and their employers to receive up to $5,000 in tax credits for IT training.

The goal is to get as many U.S. workers as possible up to speed to keep the U.S. competitive in high-tech areas such as biotech, healthcare and communications. Recent focus on offshoring and outsourcing has thrust this bill into the spotlight.

Backed by a representative from Illinois, the TRAIN initiative, if enacted, will let citizens get training from colleges or universities, certification programs or vocational institutions.

With training budgets being slashed, this news couldn’t have come at a better time. On the road, talking to IT managers, they lament the high cost of certification and training and the fact that many employers have put their workers’ training goals on ice. In the same breath, the employers are wondering why new technologies aren’t being implemented rapidly in their organizations.

Employers have a tough time justifying education line items when jobs are being slashed and other budget items are going by the wayside. Also, many companies look at training as a perk, not a necessity and therefore, it’s one of the first things to go when times get tough.

Alleviating the pressure on both parties – employers and employees – by providing a tax credit would allow more folks to gain or improve their IT skills. And $5,000, while not enough to provide a complete education – is a great start.

Kudos to lawmakers for taking this critical first step. With Washington stepping up to the plate, maybe employers will now see the importance of doing the same.


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