State program addresses IT worker shortage

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Neenah, Wis. (WBAY)- A worker shortage in the IT industry is behind a new initiative launched Thursday aimed at high school students.

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It allows those interested in the field to earn a degree faster.

To fill a gap in the state's IT field a new education initiative-- backed by Governor Walker allows participating high schools in Northeast Wisconsin, to give students an opportunity to earn college credits before they graduate.

They can -enough to complete their first year of college.

"This is a huge jump start to get more people into the pipeline as quickly as possible, and that's important because that means more jobs, a higher demand, higher wages, better careers right here in the state of Wisconsin," said the Governor.

The one plus three program, builds on the success of the state's largest, long-time concurrent enrollment program, called CAPP at U-W Oshkosh. CAPP stands for Cooperative Academic Partnership Program.

Neenah High School Student Gabby Mullally said, "I know especially junior and senior year when we all start to talk about college there's a big question of finances and if your in, a lot of kids go in for four years or even five now, and if they could cut it down the three there would definitely be an interest."

Right now- the state's unemployment rate is the lowest it's been, in years and with the demand for IT jobs, expected to rise.

State officials say incentives are needed to attract workers to the industry.

New North Co-Chair and IT Alliance Founder Kathi Seifert said, "We need to fill over three thousand IT type jobs between now and 2021 in areas such as cyber security, data analytics, business analysis, programming, and web development to name just a few."