I worry a lot about where we'll find the next generation of information technology professionals for the nonprofit organizations that are out there feeding the hungry and saving the whales.

The current crop seems to be divided between idealistic liberal arts majors who have picked up some computer skills, and idealistic computer geeks who have picked up some interpersonal skills. But there isn't a well-defined educational track to groom people for this career. This is why I've begun to dream about a national Geek For America program.

There are actually several initiatives to bring geeks to the nonprofits. The Community Information Corps at the University of Michigan, for example, trains people in the computing skills most needed by nonprofits, and then provides stipends to people who choose employment in the nonprofit sector to offset the lost wages from public work.

Circuit Riders, application service providers and a score of other techniques are being employed to help the not-for-profits realize the benefits of information technology. NPower, a Seattle based company has sliding scale tech assistance available to member nonprofits. Geek Corps organizes geeks who want to do some volunteer activity, but do not necessarily want to ladle soup.

One can check out the Alliance for Community Technology http://www.communitytechnology.org/ for more information on different initiatives taking place. Alternately, helping.org, run by the AOL Foundation (which has nothing really to do with AOL, so dave your flame) has several excellent links to geek corps style opportunities.

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