Central Lakes College Update

 

The big news out of Central Lakes College since the last newsletter, is that our Mobile Application Development A.A.S. degree program has finally been approved by MnSCU. The ability to hire local workers who can write code is a priority for a number of local employers. This program provides students with experience in database design, hosting infrastructure and security, while learning the most popular programming languages including: HTML5/CSS/JavaScript, Java, and C#. We are now working on marketing that program, and engaging in other efforts to foster student pipelines into this, and other computer technology programs.

New programs in cybersecurity training face a challenging dilemma. Despite the tremendous worldwide shortage in cybersecurity professionals, there are not loads of local employers lined up with job openings dedicated specifically to cybersecurity. There are, however, a number of current network administrators who should be interested in updating their own skills to include cybersecurity training.

This means that as grant deliverables go (adult workers gaining new full-time jobs in an in-demand field), there may be a lag between filling the current demand, and increasing local demand. I believe that it is critically important for us to not only offer the best cybersecurity training that we can, but we must also actively play a role in educating the public at large in the importance of the data that is part of every aspect of our lives. This challenge could ultimately create a number of opportunities if we take a more holistic approach to being an important asset in the field of cyber security.

 

Value of a Consortium

The Mobile Application Development program is already taking full advantage of the RITA-developed virtualization resources at Ridgewater College. Having virtual machines already configured for coding education is an important piece of training that is intended to be accessible from any location, by people using any one of a variety of devices to access the Internet. Virtualization opens up lots of opportunities for innovation in course delivery, and will provide value well beyond the life of the grant funding.

 

Enrollment News

The current trend in enrollment at many community colleges is that the number of students enrolled full-time is down significantly, while the number of students enrolling on a part-time basis is increasing. This phenomenon is being driven by a number of factors including lower local unemployment rates, affordability, and the changing demographics of the traditional student recruitment geographic footprint.

Working from a strategy that promotes stacked credentialing, and creating additional on-ramps and off-ramps in and out of access into IT education, we should not be surprised by this reality. This is actually an assumption of the RITA project, that a number of current workers will have interest in increasing their skills around various aspects of areas such as network administration, cybersecurity, and mobile application development.

New enrollments in IT courses for spring semester at Central Lakes College are up from one year ago, both for new students, and for students returning after being out for a semester or more. Our retention rates are also improved significantly from last year. Credit for this goes in no small part, to our Education and Employment Advisors, Becky and Tambera. They do an outstanding job of keeping students motivated and on task.

 

New Staff

We are pleased to introduce Angie Guderjohn , our new College Lab Assistant and Tutor. Angie is not only a CLC graduate, but is also a great example of an experienced worker from another industry, who sought IT education in order to further her career. Her personal experience as a CLC student, and her commitment to education make her a valuable addition to our team.

 

HackFest

Click the banner below for info on the upcoming HackFest hosted at CLC.