Grant boosts Midwest IT training
- By Brian Robinson
- Jan 27, 2002
With a three-year National Science Foundation grant worth about $2 million,
the Applied Information Management Institute is developing a virtual center
to boost IT education in Midwest colleges and expand the potential technology
workforce in the region.
The Midwest Center for Information Technology will be the focus for
a regional partnership of 10 community colleges in Iowa, Nebraska, North
Dakota and South Dakota that will develop cutting-edge IT programs to address
what is seen as a critical shortage of IT workers across the Midwest.
"There is still a national shortage of IT workers, even with the recession,"
said John Jeanetta, vice president of education initiatives at the institute.
"But it's most acute in the Midwest."
The institute received the NSF grant Sept. 1, and a Web site that will
be the main work area in which collaboration among the 10 partners will
take place is almost ready to go live (www.midwestcenterforIT.org). Meanwhile, program supervisors have been placed
at each of the participating colleges.
Jeanetta said that one of the first initiatives would be a program to
improve the professional development of the participating college faculties,
in order to provide certification in various areas of IT. That will include
boosting the technology education of faculty up to the master's and advanced
degree level, if necessary.
The result will be an enhanced teaching environment in which high school
graduates will be able to take what they learn in school to the community
college, and then be able to smoothly transfer to four-year colleges as
juniors without having to retake courses.
The success of the program will be judged by yearly surveys of the numbers
of students enrolling at IT courses in the participating colleges, and how
many of those go on to a university and graduate. Employers also will be
surveyed to analyze their demands and the level of satisfaction they have
with newly degreed workers.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be
reached at [email protected]
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.