A new $7.5 million national center specializing in information technology and providing instruction for in-demand IT occupations will be established and directed by Columbus State Community College, the college said on Wednesday.
In collaboration with companies, community colleges around the nation, and other stakeholders, the National Information Technology Innovation Centre will teach students to become certified, highly trained technicians in two years or less.
“We’re happy to lead the way with the National Information Technology Innovation Centre (NITIC), which will play a crucial role in America’s tech industry,” said Columbus State President David Harrison.
With partners from Collin College in McKinney, Texas; Lone Star College in Houston; Maricopa Community Colleges in Phoenix; and Sinclair College in Dayton, the NITIC is led by Columbus State.
As part of its Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program, the National Science Foundation will use government funds to support the center. The funding will be given over the following five years, with the potential for renewal for an additional five. It will be the sole national center for ATE devoted to IT instruction.
Two-year institutions don’t typically receive federal funds like this, according to Shane Kirby, director of advancement partnerships at Columbus State.
For students who graduate from these institutions, Kirby predicted that these degrees would be highly esteemed.
The most current of Columbus State’s major workforce efforts, this center will serve as its centerpiece. Columbus State announced an enormous $120 million agreement with OhioHealth earlier this summer to increase the number of healthcare jobs in the area, and the Biden administration recognized the community college as a hub for the labor force.
Partner businesses will take part in a national Business Industry Leadership Team as a component of the NITIC, which Kirby described as “the voice of the employer.” These professionals will assist in keeping the course content current with industry requirements and will have access to a pool of fresh graduates for apprenticeships and jobs.
According to Harrison, employer demands are changing quickly. According to him, employer collaborations will assist community colleges in implementing new technologies as they become available and in developing an inclusive, highly qualified IT workforce.
In addition, the center will establish an IT Innovation Network to compare best practices, encourage teacher collaboration, and discover strategies to boost the proportion of women, people of color, and veterans working in the IT industry.
Gloria Rogiers, dean of computer systems technology at Columbus State, declared, “This is a big moment.” “Based on our track record of accomplishment, NSF is banking on us to deliver. The NITIC, in my opinion, will fundamentally alter how our nation’s economic future is met.
Since the average rate of job growth in the United States is predicted to double over the next ten years, there is a huge need for IT training on a national level.
According to Lawrence McWherter, an assistant professor of cybersecurity at Columbus State University and the grant’s main investigator, there is a shortage of more than 680,000 cybersecurity jobs, many of which are entry- and mid-level professional roles.
According to McWherter, “really everything we’re developing in the United States, anything that connects to the internet, all of it touches the IT space.”
According to McWherter, this center will make the most of each school’s expertise and achievements to develop a program that fills a need.
He said: “I’m thrilled to join our expertise towards the same aims of supplying and growing the country’s IT workforce as a crucial asset.