A new consortium in the Bay Region is bringing together educators, employers, and community partners to meet ICT workforce demand across the area.
BayICT launched earlier this fall with the goal of informing and supporting the Bay Area community college ICT curriculum and programs and to identify and create relevant work-based learning and job opportunities for students and skill-builders.
The regional effort grew out of a smaller group in the East Bay Region that formed in 2017. Rather than traditional models where businesses serve as advisers, BayICT will make business leaders equal partners in developing curriculum and educational pathways.
The program is based on the BILT model developed at the National Convergence Technology Center in Frisco, Texas. Anne Beheler, the center’s principal investigator, joined October’s BayICT Partnership kickoff meeting to explain the approach and its benefits for students, educators, and business leaders.
The kickoff meeting was hosted by Bay Area ICT-DM Regional Directors Richard Grotegut, Olivia Herriford, and Ray Kaupp and included participants from community colleges, workforce development, and the IT industry.
“If the employers are involved in leading the work, it’s more likely that they’re going to find that the graduates are more employable,” Beheler said. “It’s a great opportunity for the businesses to feel that their contributions are really important and that they’re able to give back to the community.”
Businesses will work with BayICT partners to prioritize the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) they want in new graduates. Faculty then match those KSAs to the existing curriculum and identify any gaps that exist. Beheler said this is a quick way to revitalize courses that are out of date and out of touch with current industry practices.
“One of the saddest things I see is some colleges are way behind … they have IT degrees and certificates that no longer are in demand by the industry,” Beheler said. “And that’s a real problem because the students work really hard, get their degree and their certificate and can’t find a job.”
Dave McCandless is working with the BayICT team as a business adviser and said he’s excited to see what opportunities come out of it.
“This is an initiative that we support just because we want to give back to the industry and with the change of times,” McCandless said. “And essentially, the way that industry is morphing because of people working remotely creating all tremendous numbers of new opportunities for people in the industry that we’re working in.”
The BayICT partners will meet Dec. 4 at 9 a.m. to get details about the KSAs recommended by the BayICT BILT. The BayICT Partnership has also recently kicked off a series of biweekly tech talks that will be available to all Bay Area ICT students and faculty. Guests will include professionals from Bay Area companies such as FireEye, Qualcomm, and SFO (San Francisco International Airport).