Help Wanted: Calling All Nerds

U.S. companies are fighting a fierce bidding war for high-tech talent

John Gerdelman, president of MCI Communications Corp.'s networkMCI Services Div. in Washington, is accustomed to high-tech raids. Every year, he shepherds about 40 computer tenderfeet through his division's six-month training regime at a cost of $50,000 per pupil. No one bothers the recruits much while they're in MCI classrooms in Colorado Springs and elsewhere, he says. But once the training is done, other companies starved for high-tech talent rush to lure away the newly minted techies with big contracts. Attrition? "If half of them are here two years from now, we'll be very excited," Gerdelman says.

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