Information Technology’s Impact in the Latest Stimulus Package

Philip Wong asked:

We all know the United States economy has been struggling and something must get done to boost it. In February 2009, President Barack Obama created a stimulus package to help combat it. A whopping $787 billion has been approved to give the economy a shot in the arm. Some of the biggest winners to gain from this historic stimulus are technology companies. Several billions of dollars are set aside for the tech industry to create more jobs and make technology upgrades to important industries. Today’s students may want to think about getting an IT education. It looks like there are plenty of opportunities for tech needs in the years to come.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was drafted to save and create jobs immediately. It sounds like a quick fix but it is also supposed to lay the groundwork for long-term economic growth. Where is the money going? $288 billion is allocated to Tax Relief. Another $144B goes to State and Local Fiscal Relief. $111B is for Infrastructure and Science, and $81B to go to Protecting the Vulnerable. The last $59B, $53B, $43B, and $8B are allocated to Health Care, Education and Training, Energy, and Other, respectively. With this kind of money there should be enough funding to get us out of this crisis and back to the powerful country we used to be. This is the hope, and with a fair chunk of the package dedicated to technology we certainly are paving the way for the long-term.

If you have ever thought about getting IT training now is the time. $30 billion is currently invested in technology upgrades, with more than $100B in tech projects spending estimated in the next five years. The big dogs expected to gain the most from the stimulus are IBM, GE, and Cisco. IBM has already developed a smart grid in Washington State to manage energy consumption that could apply on a larger scale to the entire country. GE is working on an energy-management system that uses wind power. Look into the School of Technology at Westwood College for the chance to help Cisco push for the contract to spend the $7.2B allotted for broadband deployment. Get educated and Cisco certified, and you will be in a good position to take advantage of the IT revolution. Another big industry looking to upgrade their technology is health care.

With 7.5% of the stimulus package dedicated to health care you might think it is not getting its fair share. That percentage equates to $59 billion, though. The headline-maker has been the $19.5B devoted to digitizing medical records and who has been appointed to oversee the project. Harvard Medical School Professor Dr. David Blumenthal was named the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. As Director of the Institute for Health Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital/Partners HealthCare System in Boston, he is a longtime advocate for making medical records electronic. Several professionals in the industry applaud the appointment with praise of his qualifications. With a good team around him we should feel confident he has the answers to make a strong impact on our country’s medical technology in the future.

There is much to look forward to in the coming years. The Obama Administration is investing heavily into rebuilding the weak and upgrading the old. Millions of jobs hope to be available in IT, Construction Management, Education, Health Care, and anything else “The American Dream” offers itself to. While this stimulus sounds like a cure-all fix, Americans must know it will still take time and a lot of hard work to get back to the level we desire. Technology will play a vital role in our advancement as a nation, hopefully setting an example for other countries as well. For those that are IT experts, this is your chance to change the world.

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