High-tech fields reportedly need more recruits


Maryland's schools are failing to supply the numbers of skilled graduates needed by some of the state's high-tech employers and won't be able to provide enough engineers, architects and computer scientists through the end of the decade, according to a new report on high-technology occupations.

By the same token, those studying the physical and life sciences will find intense competition for job openings through the year 2000, a task force reported yesterday.

The report by the Task Force on High Technology Occupations, which was appointed last year by Higher Education Secretary Shaila R. Aery, found that employers in three high-tech occupations will have a tough time finding qualified applicants:

* Engineers. While there are more than 2,000 job openings in engineering each year in Maryland, slightly more than 1,000 people have earned an engineering bachelor's degree in each of the last four years, the task force found. Many Maryland graduates leave the state after they earn their degrees.

* Architects. The number of job openings for architects outnumbers by a 5-2 ratio the roughly 70 bachelor's degrees awarded in the field each year. But the number of degrees awarded has risen each year since 1986.

* Computer-related jobs. For the roughly 750 computer science bachelor's degrees awarded each year, there have been about 2,100 job openings, the task force report shows.

The job estimates in the study are based on recent economic conditions and on the number of Maryland students who take jobs in the state. "There is no comparative information about how many employees are recruited from outside the state," the report said.

The study will be presented to the Maryland Higher Education Commission next week.

The study recommends a five-part strategy designed to increase the number of science and technology students in Maryland.

That strategy calls for initiatives in marketing; curriculum reforms; partnerships between private- and public-sector organizations; financial incentives for students in the form of grants and scholarships; and new teacher education programs.

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