In your own backyard

Federal workers don't have to look far to find ways to get academic credentials to advance in the world of information technology.

Seeing a giant gap for government workers, the General Services Administration and the CIO Council launched CIO University four years ago to help workers get the credentials and know-how to advance in their jobs.

The program, designed primarily for people currently employed by the government, is a consortium of universities offering dozens of graduate-level programs to address the needs of workers in high-tech jobs. The courses are designed to teach students to look at IT in new ways and deliver services in the most cost-effective manner.

"We had an influence on what universities were teaching," said Emory Miller, a founder of the program and a former GSA official who is now senior vice president for government affairs at Robbins-Gioia LLC. "It helped them get attuned to what is happening in the government."

The consortium of seven universities offers an integrated, online program covering a full set of core competencies, a modular program that addresses pieces of the competencies and a one-week survey course. It also offers graduate degrees, graduate credits, continuing education units and a CIO University certificate.

The program is also open to private-sector employees. Each participant must be sponsored by an agency or business, and tuition is hefty — $25,000 per year — but it may be paid by the student's employer.

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