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New $3.78 million grant to help Columbus State create national IT apprenticeship model

Campus News | Monday, July 15, 2019

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Columbus State Community College $3.78 million to work with Collin College in Texas to create a national model for flexible apprenticeships in IT and IT-related industries. This will increase the pipeline of workers in high-demand occupations.

The project will use the resources of Columbus State’s Workforce Advisory Council, a Central Ohio group of national employers with IT talent needs convened by Columbus State President David Harrison. Combined with Collin College’s Business and Industry Leadership Team, it will create the Employer and Education Consortium to establish the Flexible Learning Expressway for Technology (FLEXTech) Apprenticeship Consortium. FLEXTech will establish new IT apprenticeship pathways and expand existing pathways.

Nancy Case, project director and dean of partnerships and programs for Columbus State said, “We have good momentum toward understanding employer needs for entry-level IT talent. This project will provide support on scaling and framing the program from student, institution, and employer angles in communities across the country.”

“Leaders across Ohio’s institutions of higher education, including community colleges, universities, and Ohio Technical Centers, understand that we need new ways to partner with industry to ensure that our communities are ready for both the jobs of today and those of tomorrow,” said Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor Randy Gardner. “Scaling apprenticeships through this new investment will offer expanded opportunities for meeting Ohio’s IT talent needs.”

The program will expand opportunities to provide workers with apprenticeship training and credentials they need to reach middle-to-high-skilled occupations.

Within Central Ohio, Columbus State has successfully grown its current IT apprenticeship program to engage seven area companies including Accenture, Nationwide, State Auto Insurance and Huntington Bancshares Incorporated. The College has currently placed software development and cybersecurity students within paid apprenticeships and is working to grow additional IT disciplines for apprenticeship placements locally. Hourly wages in the Columbus metropolitan area average more than $18, providing students relevant, good-paying employment as they pursue their studies.

“Professional apprenticeship programs, particularly at the local level, are critical to igniting a spark of interest in technology fields and ultimately building a pipeline to help address the skills gap across the U.S.,” said Joe Chenelle, office managing director for Accenture in Columbus. “This model creates new career pathways for non-traditional hires, helps employers gain valuable talent and can help build the next generation tech workforce.”


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