US Technology Skills Gap: Fact or Fiction?

  US Technology Skills Gap: Fact or Fiction?

Live webcast features panel including CEOs from SAS and Red Hat, NC community
college system president, and author Gary Beach

Business Wire

CARY, N.C. -- November 13, 2013

Is a widening "skills gap" in science and math education threatening America's
future? Some claim this skills gap is equivalent to a permanent national
recession, while others cite how the gap threatens America's future economic
stability, workforce employability and national security.

This will be the topic of a presentation and panel featuring SAS CEO Jim
Goodnight, Red Hat president and CEO Jim Whitehurst, North Carolina Community
College System (NCCCS) President Dr. Scott Ralls and Gary Beach, author of The
US Technology Skills Gap.

Co-hosted by analytics software provider SAS and the Raleigh Chamber of
Commerce, the event will take place at the SAS world headquarters in Cary, NC,
on Nov. 21. The presentation and panel will be webcast live from 3-4:30 p.m.

The conversation will focus on the existence of a skills gap, a vexing dilemma
facing many nations around the world. Beach will share key findings from his
book research and will moderate a lively discussion about the skills gap.

“There are many opinions on the skills gap,” said Beach. “Employers claim they
cannot fill positions because job applicants do not have the required skills.
Wall Street analysts claim America’s persistently high unemployment rates will
continue until our nation solves the skills gap.”

The panelists will address questions such as:

  *What are the skills needed in the 21st century work environment?
  *How should public education be restructured to teach these skills?
  *What responsibility do business leaders and IT executives have to train
  *How do we measure progress?

SAS relies on a strong stream of statistical and analytics talent to meet its
own, and its customers’, workforce needs. The company is an ardent supporter
of initiatives that generate the next generation of STEM talent, often by
collaborating with schools and universities.

“The lack of science and math skills among our nation’s students is one of the
greatest threats to American competitiveness,” said Goodnight. “Partnerships
between industry and education are critical to insuring our students enter the
workforce with the most relevant and valuable skills.”

Whitehurst believes organizations, especially technology organizations, must
do their part to help foster an early interest in STEM by supporting
mentorships and programs that teach kids coding skills early in their

Whitehurst added, “STEM education provides opportunities to our young people
but just as important, our economy depends on a growing workforce equipped
with the technological and creative skills our businesses will need to stay
competitive in the 21^st century workplace.”

Red Hat places a similar emphasis on supporting STEM initiatives, particularly
around women in IT. “The National Center for Women and Information Technology
found that labor analysts predict by 2018, US employers will only be able to
fill half of the 1.4 million available computer jobs with candidates holding a
bachelor’s degree in computer science,” said Whitehurst.

Ralls has spent his career bolstering the talent pipeline from high school to
the workforce. Almost one-third of the Early College High Schools in the US
are located on North Carolina community college campuses. Early college high
schools blend high school and college in a rigorous program, compressing the
time it takes to complete a high school diploma and the first two years of
college. In addition, under Dr. Ralls' leadership, the NCCCS has undertaken a
systemwide data initiative focused on gathering meaningful, accurate data to
better link the system’s efforts to workforce needs and to measure student

“With our colleges’ distinct blend of early colleges, technical education and
industry-specific training, we have a unique perspective on the issues
involved in the skills gap discussion locally, statewide and nationally,” said
Ralls. “No single formula will solve these issues. They require collaboration
by business, education and elected leaders, and thoughtful, data-driven
assessment and response.”

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest
independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative
solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 65,000 sites improve performance
and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been
giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW^®.

SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered
trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries.
® indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of
their respective companies. Copyright © 2013 SAS Institute Inc. All rights


Trent Smith, 919-531-4726
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