[FoRK] A Work-Study Program for U.S. Tech Students
ejw at cs.ucsc.edu
Thu Jan 28 04:10:12 PST 2010
This article implies that the students are being paid below-market
wages. I wonder how long they must work for their sponsoring company.
Stephen Williams wrote:
> We need more of this, although it would be nice if this kind of thing
> didn't depend totally on getting a slot in an uber-large corporation.
> Something that would work for smaller businesses, government agencies,
> etc. would be good to flesh this out. Plus it obviously needs to be
> much more widespread.
>> A Work-Study Program for U.S. Tech Students
>> Low-income kids can get experience and a degree in six years, with no
>> debt and a job at the end, thanks to Workforce Outsource Services
>> By Steve Hamm
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>> Many within techdom complain about U.S. companies that use cheap,
>> offshore labor or guest foreign workers in place of domestic
>> employees. Few are doing much about it. A noteworthy exception is
>> Arthur Langer. His New York nonprofit organization, Workforce
>> Outsource Services, is trying to provide alternatives to foreign tech
>> workers, including those on H-1B visas, by granting scholarships to
>> low-income students and placing them in multiyear work-study programs
>> in companies while they work toward undergraduate degrees. "We have
>> an incredible source of talent in this country that can work for
>> competitive prices," says Langer, a technology consultant and
>> professor at Columbia University. "You don't have to go to India for
>> The organization began as an academic project nine years ago, became
>> a company in 2005, and is now expanding in New York, New Jersey, and
>> Ohio. So far, 120 students have graduated, and a further 65 are
>> enrolled. Langer ultimately hopes to put thousands of youngsters
>> through the program. He believes it's at a turning point. "We have
>> proved it can work, and we're scaling up now," he says.
>> Langer, an expert in technology management, began the project after
>> seeing many young people from poor communities go to college but fail
>> to complete degree programs. The reason: They are under intense
>> pressure to get into the workforce and earn money, or they are averse
>> to piling up loan debt without the certainty that they will get good
>> jobs after graduation. So he founded Workforce Outsource Services to
>> help students earn degrees without financial strain.
>> Motivated and Disciplined
>> Here's how the service works: Young people are invited to a six-week
>> orientation program where they meet in a group with Workforce
>> Outsourcing Services trainers once a week. From that group the most
>> motivated and disciplined candidates are selected. They participate
>> in an intensive IT training program at a university and then begin
>> working part time for corporations while they go to school part time
>> and finish their undergraduate degrees. "The goal is for people to
>> graduate in six years with a degree, technology certification, no
>> debt, and a job," Langer says.
>> Valeria Rodriguez, an 18-year-old from Somerset, N.J., learned about
>> the program a year ago when she was in high school. "It was too
>> perfect," she says. She is now participating in a certification
>> program at Rutgers University and working at Galaxy Systems, a
>> provider of IT consulting and other services in Somerset. "It's hard
>> today for college graduates to get a job," she says. "I won't have
>> debt when I finish college, and I'll have plenty of work experience."
>> Participating companies make donations to help cover operating costs
>> and tuition payments, plus pay salaries to the students. They include
>> Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), MedcoHealth Solutions (MHS), and Prudential
>> Financial (PRU). Nonprofit organizations, such as New York's Museum
>> of Modern Art, are allowed to participate without making donations.
>> The program works well for employers, says Steve Peltzman, MOMA's
>> chief information officer. He initially hired one of Langer's
>> students for the museum's tech help desk. That went so well that he
>> now uses other students to monitor the data center, which houses
>> computing for the museum. One person with higher-level skills managed
>> a software programming project. "You get all of the monetary benefits
>> of offshoring and none of the negatives," Peltzman says. "And you're
>> doing social good."
>> Langer's program is still relatively small, but if it grows as
>> rapidly as he hopes, it could begin to do a whole lot of social good.
>> He's working on that—right now negotiating with people at the
>> University of Missouri in an effort to get the program going in St.
>> Louis. Says Langer: "We have to show the country this can work."
>> Hamm is a senior writer for BusinessWeek in New York and author of
>> the Globespotting blog.
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