Western Kentucky Facing a Shortage of IT Professionals
Employment rates in the information technology field are slowly declining across the commonwealth. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees in IT related fields in Kentucky have dropped by more than 5,000 since 2006.
Murray State Telecommunications System Management Director Michael Ramage says one of the biggest challenges in western Kentucky is producing enough IT graduates who want to stay in the region. Ramage sees the decline as an economic development issue.
“There are companies that want to expand… that want to grow but we don’t have the workforce to provide for them. It’s not just a Murray State thing, it’s gotta be a region thing. It’s gotta be Murray State doing more, UK and Western doing more and West Kentucky. It’s gotta be everybody doing more but more importantly we gotta be able to capture them and keep them in the region,” says Ramage.
Ramage says producing more graduates starts by engaging students in technology at a younger age and encouraging more to major in computer-related fields.
Murray State University’s Program of Distinction in telecommunications systems management (TSM) and Community Financial Services Bank (CFSB) have partnered to host the first IT Matters Conference on Sept. 29. The conference will be held at Murray State University’s Paducah Regional Campus. The free conference is for small businesses and IT professionals to hear from industry experts on a variety of information technology topics.
The conference kicks off at 12:30 p.m. with registration and vendor exploration, followed by the first speaker beginning at 1 p.m. The conference will conclude at 4:15 p.m.