Universities Gear Up To Satisfy Job Growth In The Intelligence Sector

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
October 8, 2009

With government hiring to increase significantly over the next three years, especially in the area of national security and protection, universities are beefing up their educational offerings to produce more highly educated intelligence specialists.

The opening of the Great Plains National Security Education Consortium, composed of four universities in Nebraska, underscores the findings of a recently released study entitled "Where the Jobs Are," which identifies over 270,000 government employment opportunities available in the next three years. The North Platte Telegraph reports that the new program will focus on academic subjects such as physics and engineering, language and cultural immersion and statistical analysis. The goal is increase the pool of people, particularly women and minorities, qualified for careers in the intelligence sector.

As the newest of 14 such educational programs, it will help prepare students for jobs with federal agencies who gather intelligence, including the CIA. "The intelligence community needs brainpower, to challenge our way of thinking, to allow for the cross-fertilization of ideas," said Lenora Peters Gant, director of the government's Office of the Centers of Academic Excellence.

While education specifically focusing on careers in the intelligence sector originated in 2004 with a federal law designed to improve U.S. intelligence-gathering, the 2009 study of government's hiring needs confirms the growth of this field. The biennial publication, produced by the Partnership for Public Service, predicts that in the area of security and protection, over 52,000 new jobs will be created. Openings will arise for specialists in intelligence analysis, international relations, foreign affairs, security administration, and transportation security, with additional jobs for park rangers, and police and correctional officers.

In reporting on these projections, CBS Moneywatch comments that salaries for federal jobs are competitive with those in the private sector. In addition, high job security and good pensions are added incentives for pursuing government work. On the down side, however, is that as the word gets out there will be more competition for government jobs than in the past.

The Washington Post reports that the Department of Homeland Security, one of three agencies that will see the most new jobs, expects to hire for 65,730 positions by 2012. This represents a 3.5-fold increase from the previous three-year period. In addition, the Justice Department is likely to create 4,000 new positions in the 2010 budget. These will include law enforcement personnel, correctional officers and attorneys.

It is none too early for students in the National Security Education Consortium. As the four universities expand their course offerings and add new degree programs with advanced courses, they will provide opportunities for students to participate in research training and study abroad. And, those who remain on campus will be able to learn from federal experts attending annual colloquia on national security.

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