COMPUTER RESELLER NEWS reports on a company that has 5,000 retired mainframe programmers living in the Silicon Valley area of California who are ready to take y2k assignments. But these older people are not being hired. Yet they are the ones who can solve the problem, if there were 500,000 to 700,000 of them (US only). This indicates that businesses are not seriously working on this problem. We are way, way beyond the point of no return.
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Sparked by a newsletter, Old Pros to the Rescue, Senior Staff 2000, a service division of The Senior Staff Job Information Exchange Inc., has amassed a national and international database of more than 5,000 retired computer professionals.
The San Jose, Calif.-based parent company recruits individuals over age 50 in the Silicon Valley, who are seeking part-time employment in various job areas. Senior Staff 2000 is a global database of individuals over age 50 with COBOL and other older language experience, as well as former IT program managers, systems analysts and software developers. . . .
Retired programmer Ralph Bain, who has taken the COBOL refresher course and is listed in the database, feels there is a bias against older people in the industry that hinders the use of Senior Staff 2000. "It's interesting that most people being hired don't have the experience to solve the problem, but [companies] can't imagine hiring somebody who hasn't just yesterday done this kind of work."
Despite this bias, Joy and Bain predict that as crunch-time approaches, the industry will have to use all available resources.
"Only 10 [percent] to 15 percent of the industry doesn't have this problem," Joy said. "The rest do. And a lot of them have a bigger problem than they first thought," Joy said. "These [programmers] are going to have to come from somewhere, so why not from a database of experienced people."