Q&A: How IT executives can help schools fix the ‘tech skills gap’

Gary Beach is the publisher emeritus of CIO Magazine, a publication serving chief information officers and other information technology executives from across the business world, Education Week reports. His new book, The U.S. Technology Skills Gap: What Every Technology Executive Must Know to Save America’s Future, hits bookstores this week. Beach talked with Education Week about why he believes the “technology skills gap” is real, why he worries that the Common Core State Standards are not going to bring about the overhaul that America’s schools need, and how he thinks the technology industry can make a difference. The transcript of our conversation below has been edited for clarity.

What do information technology executives and chief information officers see when they look at American schools?

You hear about the skills gap. They believe it’s real. They’re seeing the difficulty of finding men and women to fill jobs that are open. They’re not finding folks that have the basic skills to do basic [math and science.] And what you’re hearing more and more is that what’s even more important to business execs are the so-called soft skills: things like collaboration, the ability to use social media, cross-cultural communication, how do you process massive amounts of data, trans-disciplinary skills.

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