Schools and the Hybrid Technologist: A “New” Employment Arena that Straddles both White- and Blue-collar Positions

By Ramona R. Santa Maria.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Today there are shifts (and emphasis) from vocational/ industrial skills to an emphasis on computer technology, especially in schools. Computer technology skills have become a set of skills that moves students toward hybrid employment positions that straddle both white- and blue- collar positions. This is significant because it shows the correlation between education and employment, and furthermore, how this emphasis in society influences school curriculum.
The hybrid technologist is a term I use to discuss employment positions, and a more vocational style of computer education that has been integrated in to schools since the 1980’s. The decline of lucrative industrial jobs made integrating technology into the classroom seem to be the right direction for schools to move toward.
Through leaning how to navigate computer technology, much like semi-skilled trades in the industrial field, a student could learn a set of skills and would not need more than a high school education to become employable at a job that would support and sustain a middle-class lifestyle Once employed, the hybrid technologist gains value within the workplace because
of four unique, and key factors, which will be covered in my paper. Within a workplace, the hybrid
technologist may be employed in a position that works closely with management on projects offering
technological services or solutions to satisfy the overall objectives. The hybrid technologist is always
considered an integral part of the organization’s staff, but is almost never viewed as “professional
staff.” Some examples include installation, technology help desk/troubleshooting, repair, programming, or performing a unique/“skilled” task on the computer. Often times, these semi-skilled positions have the ability to offer services to those in white- collar positions that adds to the hybrid technologists status within an agency. However, it is after work where the hybrid technologist may be seen by their family/peer group as an example of someone who has “made it” beyond labor.

Keywords: Employment, White Collar, Blue Collar, Education Technology, De-Industrialization, Schools

The International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp.101-112. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 622.550KB).

Dr. Ramona R. Santa Maria

Assistant Professor, Computer Information Systems Department, Buffalo State College (SUNY), Buffalo, NY, USA

Ramona R. Santa Maria, a lecturer in the Computer Information Systems Department at Buffalo State College since 1999, is an assistant professor. She holds a Ph.D. in social foundations from the University at Buffalo with a concentration in critical and cultural studies of information technology. Her research interests include the social impacts of technology on women and minorities, and classroom technology integration. Santa Maria leads the Buffalo, NY, USA chapter of Webgrrls International, a networking organization for professional business women focused on technology career development.

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