Lorain County Community College will begin a STEM pilot program – Building IT Futures – that provides local high school students the opportunity to be introduced to local companies and career opportunities while learning valuable skills and earning college credit.
A $150,000 Ohio Department of Higher Education grant will support the two-year pilot program targeted to 12th grade students. Eleventh grade students will be accepted if space is available. Across the program, up to 30 students per year from North Ridgeville, Midview and Elyria high schools who are enrolled in College Credit Plus IT pathways will be selected to participate. Funds are from the Ohio STEM Public-Private program, created to encourage public-private partnerships between high schools, colleges and the community to provide high school students with the opportunity to get education and training in a targeted industry.
“The goal is to improve the likelihood that students will find employment in the IT field after high school and completion of an associate degree,” said Kelly Zelesnik, LCCC’s dean of Engineering, Business and Information Technologies division. “This pilot program will expose students to opportunities available in the IT field locally in conjunction with their coursework through college credit plus.”
LCCC, partner high schools, and the Regional Information Technology Engagement (RITE) Board will work with employer partners Hyland Software, OEConnections and University Hospitals to focus the pilot program on junior- or entry-level software developer or application developer positions.
“Hyland is excited to partner with Lorain County Community College and area high schools on the Building IT Futures project. Programs like this help us fulfill our commitment to cultivate a local-area technology community and shape the region’s workforce,” said Dennis Sasinka, senior manager, Tech Outreach at Hyland. “It is a great opportunity for students to learn valuable skills and be exposed to the kinds of opportunities available at companies like Hyland.”
LCCC, collaborating with high school and employer partners, will select from three courses – Database Design & Implementation, Intro to Programming C#, and Web Development – with the goal of delivering the courses at high school sites and employer locations, working with LCCC faculty. The three companies have committed their facilities, equipment and staff time to support the success of the pilot program.
“Students in this program will learn about educational pathways in computer science and software engineering,” said Zelesnik. “More importantly they’ll get a chance to interact and connect with professionals in the industry.”
The program meets the high demand for individuals with education and skills in software development, web development and network administration.
“This project distinctly aligns with key STEM initiatives already underway in the Midview schools that are focused on development of student skills and building the local STEM talent pipeline with job-ready graduates,” said Dr. Bruce Willingham, superintendent, Midview Local School District.
It also addresses local employers’ needs for top talent and links directly to two LCCC priorities of its Vision 2020 strategic plan – driving student completion for academic and career success and leading talent development while accelerating business and job growth.