I kinda wished you'd have told me what you did do before you were "misplaced" (nice term!) from IT. My answers to your questions could be more informative put into the context of something more specific. Without that information, I'm at a bit of a loss to be entirely helpful.
That said, of the options you mention (Oracle, XML, SAP, PC maintenance, SAS) I'd take PC maintenance out of that mix because it's more of a technician focus and less of an IT professional focus. The others I'd rank as follows: XML, Oracle, SAP, SAS. But again, that fails to take your prior experience or proclivities into account. In general, courses aren't bad, but certifications are more credible (where available).
As for finding a headhunter, big national placement companies like Robert Half, Management Recruiters International, Korn-Ferry and so forth, are all still in business as far as I know. If you know any HR professionals (preferably not those at companies where you might hope to work someday) you may be able to get other headhunter referrals from them.
As for what you're missing -- that's the real question, isn't it? If you tell me more, I'll try to do the same for you. You can e-mail me directly.
This was first published in April 2003