RESCUECOM CEO Comments on State of Technology Education in New York

New Incentives Created to Improve Technology Education

Incentives proposed for math, science teachers
Schumer concerned about shortage of trained workers in Central New York.


By James T. Mulder
The Post Standard

2/27/2007

Area high-tech companies – such as Sensis Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Rescuecom Corp. – cannot find enough local workers with math and science skills because schools are doing a poor job of teaching these subjects, according to Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

To fix the problem, Schumer wants the federal government to pay annual stipends of up to $20,000 to encourage people with strong math and science backgrounds to become teachers or to remain in education.

“We want to see companies like Sensis grow,” Schumer said Monday during a news conference at the company’s office on Enterprise Parkway, in DeWitt. “The question is, five to 10 years from now, when they are looking for new people, will you still have them?”

Sensis Corp. makes surveillance, radar detections and other high-tech products. It employs more than 500 people, many of them engineers. It and other local high-tech companies have trouble filling positions.

Rescuecom, a national company based in Syracuse that repairs computers, cannot find computer programmers in the area.

“I get more applications from Bangalore than I do Upstate New York,” said David Milman, the company’s founder. Most people teaching math and science in elementary and high schools never majored in those subjects, Schumer said. There’s a dearth of top-notch math and science teachers because people coming out of college who major in the subjects can make more money in business, he said.

Schumer wants to create a national Math and Science Teaching Corps. In exchange for a four-year teaching commitment, the program would provide teaching certification in a one-year master’s degree program to people highly skilled in math and science.

Teachers who want to participate in the program would have to take tests demonstrating their knowledge and teaching skills. Teachers accepted into the corps would receive annual stipends ranging from $11,000 to $20,000 in addition to their regular salaries.

The annual cost of the program could exceed $1 billion.

Schumer said that kind of investment is necessary if the United States is to stop falling behind other nations in math and Science.

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