The statewide ICT Sector Team has been meeting and developing statewide student pathways, faculty professional development opportunities and industry engagement since 2013.
As a perpetually curious group of professionals the ICT Team voluntarily met every Tuesday for eight years to share best practices, insights from employers, students, and faculty. The quality contributions and mutual respect of the team has greatly impacted the CCCs.
In their own words, in this final statewide ICT Sector Newsletter, we are asking the Regional Directors to tell of a memorable experience and share where they are going next.
It was a lifetime privilege to lead this group and to support the needs of the CA Community Colleges. I was able to leverage years of corporate market research and product development into support programs for the faculty and students. Every idea that the statewide team popularized came from a Regional Director or a region. The challenge was to assure the solution was fundamentally right from an employer perspective and then to promote it with statewide effectiveness. For me this was done best in the Business Information Worker. Through the efforts of the whole team, faculty, and industry we achieved 80% of CCCs adopting the BIW, standardized BIW C-IDs and several hybrid certificate programs that persist today. I am grateful for the experience.
Next, I am launching Wright Consulting Associates to help people find franchise opportunities that match their skills, income goals and lifestyle aspirations. With over 3,000 business model franchises on the market today and new franchisee placement growing at 300% over last year, it is a new kind of workforce phenomenon. I am impressed with the ICT sophistication of back-office systems, cloud-based support that these executive and work at home business models include. Franchisors are willing to pay me to find talented folks that are a good fit their business model franchises. So, its free to you! If you are curious, you know how to find me! Steve@wrightca.com
During the past 3 years it has been an honor to work with our 7 far north community colleges and our statewide ICT team to improve tech education and job opportunities for our students. Connecting industry partners to our schools to bring real world job shadowing experiences to students and finding new businesses to participate in advisory boards was so powerful. My favorite accomplishments were increasing awareness to the importance of cybersecurity education and getting many new ICT certificate programs launched including the Google IT Support Professional Certificate program.
My plans for the future are still up in the air, but I will continue the important work we have started. My position will change but aligning education with industry needs will continue to be the core of my focus for the future.
As I reflect on the past five years serving as Deputy Sector Navigator and later Regional Director of Employer Engagement, I cannot help but smile. I transitioned from serving as a K14 TAP for several years in my region. The TAP role was one I thoroughly enjoyed for many reasons and one where I had subject matter expertise, established partnerships, and felt totally confident serving in. When I started as DSN, I felt like a fish out of water. I was surrounded with a Statewide Team of ICT experts who had served in industry and as faculty for various community colleges across the state. They spoke a language that was unfamiliar and often intimidating. But they welcomed me to their team. I quickly learned that although I did not have an ICT or technology background, I could thrive in this role. And in my own way, I did. It allowed me to leverage my own strengths and abilities to make a positive impact. Looking back, I am most thankful for the people including members of my Statewide Sector Team for the acceptance and support through the years. Our Statewide Sector Director Steve Wright, was an exceptional leader that kept us focused and motivated even during uncertain and challenging times. I learned so much from them and consider them mentors, colleagues and friends. My regional team of DSNs/RDs was also exceptional. A diverse group of professionals with different areas of expertise and talent. I am thankful for the deep friendships that I’ve gained from that group. We worked hard and played hard. I am thankful for the partnerships with so many amazing people that shared my vision and supported my efforts. I am thankful for the projects and activities that positively impacted students, faculty and the community. I have learned so much and feel blessed to have been allowed to serve my sector, my region and the state. What a great adventure. It has been a privilege.
Moving forward, I am fortunate to have new opportunities to look forward to. Beginning in January 2022, I will begin a new (but similar) role in the Inland Empire called Industry Sector Manager with an emphasis on ICT and Digital Media. This new role will allow me to continue past efforts and build upon my projects. Although it will be a time of transition and undoubtedly will include challenges – I am hopeful and optimistic. I fall back on my faith and know that although one door has closed – a new one has opened.
All the best – Susanne Mata
During my tenure in the role of Deputy Sector Navigator and later Regional Director of Employer Engagement, I have been privileged to work with statewide and regional teams that share a vision to engage industry leaders with the goal of getting students into quality ICT jobs. Aspects of the job I enjoyed the most included talking to individuals in industry, analyzing labor market information (LMI) and making presentations based on what I learned. Initially the role seems daunting – cold calls and to whom? Is there a list? What are TOPS codes and what is the correspondence with SOC codes? The statewide ICT team helped me understand subsectors and how ICT is defined. The Centers for Excellence (LMI source) provided presentations on “cross-walks” between how the federal government classifies jobs and how the CA Community College systems does it. Finally, the Regional Consortium provided guidance and feedback on the goals (theirs and the Chancellor’s Office) for my position. Armed with the information, I still had to assimilate the information quickly and formulate a workplan. Eventually I was able to leverage my business skills (asking the right questions in front of the right people), IT skills (as the industry liaison, I represented the Community Colleges – coming off as incompetent is not an option) and interpersonal skills as I was tasked with informing students, faculty and industry with my findings (in their own specific languages). I am quite proud of the new partnerships formed; it is amazing to me how many organizations are unaware of the quality programs and students in the CA Community Colleges. Due to targeted outreach over the past 3 years, more than 100 regional employers now know about our programs and many will participate on some level going forward (e.g. industry advisories or recruitment).
As I wind down this position, I will maintain a connection with the Community Colleges as I remain engaged as a tenured Professor in San Diego College of Continuing Education. However, I am also considering returning to industry as a Data Scientist / DevOps Programmer but with additional fond memories and friendships – a heartfelt thank you to all who have helped and supported me throughout this awesome experience!
-Duane Rinehart (firstname.lastname@example.org)
During my eight years in the role of Deputy Sector Navigator and later Regional Director of Employer Engagement, I have had the opportunity to positively influence and provide guidance to the South Central Coast Consortium (SCCRC) and the state. My highlights are a reflection of partnership with Industry, Information and Communication Technologies & Digital Media (ICT/DM) faculty, and colleagues. In my first year, I created and lead the statewide Digital Media Educators Conference (DMEC) hosted at College of the Canyons which continued for five years. By dynamically convening a regional cross-disciplinary ICT team representing the eight colleges, we were able to design curriculum, provide train the trainer opportunities, and support each other which was an honor and privilege during my tenure – I consider each faculty member a friend and a leader in their field. Undertakings I designed and administrated for the SCCRC region have also been adopted into other regions as best practices such as the Career Services Jobspeaker regional Hub and Virtual Labs using Practice Labs.
Through an Industry-Driven Regional Collaborative (IDRC) grant, I was able to develop a Healthcare Information Technology certification (HCIT) with John Cordova (then Regional Director for Health) that aligned with the national certification standard of The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). I would be remiss if I did not mention the industry powerhouse that existed as a statewide ICT/DM team of Regional Directors with Steve Wright as our Statewide Director! Sharing our knowledge, best practices and problem solving were a highlight of our joint efforts and allowed each region to prosper from the combined knowledge of our expertise. As I sunset in this position, I am considering several options regarding my next steps which may include continuing to work with the Community Colleges within the SCCRC region.
A Fond Farewell,
Reflecting on my past years as a Deputy Sector Navigator and a Regional Director of Employer Engagement; this journey has been worth the ride. I made new friends and colleagues up and down the state of California. While meeting new people was a joy, I think the part that mattered most (at least in my eyes) was the fact that we all believed in the foundation of putting students first. Whether it was creating new programs, creating new certificates, or working with employers to create pathways that lead to a job, we all believed that a student’s success was the focus of our work.
I am grateful, thankful, and humbled to have worked with such an awesome team within the ICT sector and our fearless leader Steve Wright. I will miss you all; however, our work is not done; so I say until our paths cross again, Be Well, Be Inspired, Be Hopeful.
For the last 18 months, the expanding relationship with NextGen Cyber Talent has been the most exciting and inspiring outcome of my work in this role. Such partnerships epitomize how collaboration between industry organizations, nonprofits, and faculty is essential to exposing our students to career possibilities and work experience. Engagement with the local chapters of ISSA and Cyversity (formerly ICMCP) led to the introduction to NextGen leadership, CISOs at major Bay Area businesses. All of these organizations have a mission to increase DEI in the cybersecurity workforce. It was one of the NextGen CISOs who helped to kick off the BayICT Tech Talks in October 2020, still going strong. These biweekly Zoom presentations and Q&A with tech leaders and students are promoted by student-focused Bay Area cybersecurity faculty. Exposed to the student diversity and quality of CC cyber programs as well as region-wide collaborations with CBOs such as Love Never Fails’ IT Biz Academy, NextGen found the perfect outreach targets for its new student grant and internship programs. To date, $14,000 in completion incentive grants have been awarded, 80+ Bay Area students are in the paid internship candidate pool, and 5 have been hired as full-time cyber professionals. The BACCC continues to expand its partnership with NextGen leadership which has recently agreed to support the BayCyber camps and work with other partners such as Opportunity@Work to place the internship program candidates.
The BACCC reorganization has decreased the number of ICT-DM RDs from 3 to 1 and it appears it is expected that I will be in that position. Needless to say, the scope of the role must change. My interests (and passions) are to continue the approach to employer engagement described above with a focus on DEI. I also hope to continue with the renewed focus on awareness and expansion of the region’s digital media programs, again with a collaborative, student-focused approach.
It has been a pleasure serving as Los Angeles Region Deputy Sector Navigator and then Regional Director of Employer Engagement ICT-DM for the past several years. Working closely with the faculty and leadership has been an amazing experience. I am most proud of helping so many across the region by supporting the development and expansion of the Cloud Programs, advancing curriculum and training in Artificial Intelligence technology, and reaching out to K-12 students and faculty for career exploration, and so much more.
As I look forward to my new role, I can’t help but reflect on the amazing talent of ICT-DM Regional Directors of Employer Engagement across the state. Together we as a team collaborated, strategized, and supported each other time and time again. Thank you, Steve Wright, for being an amazing State Director of Employer Engagement. I wish everyone success in the new roles.
In hindsight, it was a logical, if not easy, transition from my long-time ICT faculty role to the beginning of my five years as a DSN/RD for the ICT sector. I think that I served my constituents well during my time.
The enduring value of the experience for me, over the last five years, and what will lead me in the future, is the opportunity for me to continue working on projects that I am passionate about. I will continue my involvement with WASTC and our focus on professional development, with NETLAB as a practitioner and champion, and with our three-year CyberCamps NSF ATE project. I hope to also be a regular contributor to the Bay ICT Partnership and our unending effort to see ITIS model curriculum standards that we can all share.
Markus Geissler, PhD
Markus Geissler, PhD served as the Deputy Sector Navigator/Regional Director for the Greater Sacramento Region from January 2018 to June 2020. He contributed to the ICT/DM Sector team via his background in curriculum development and his connections to statewide and national ICT-related committees and initiatives, and he very much appreciated the variety of skills that each RDEE brought to the team. Markus especially appreciated the expertise shared by many great speakers via the ICT/DM Sector Webinar Series, and his most memorable DSN/RDEE moments include collaborating on statewide curriculum projects with Richard and engaging in some tough discussions on various issues with Paula.
In July 2020 Markus returned to his position as a Professor, Computer Information Science at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento. During the summer and fall 2020 terms he completed six Cisco Networking Academy instructor courses offered by the Western Academy Support & Training Center (WASTC) to update his teaching skills in the areas of Cybersecurity and IoT. Markus is glad to be working more directly with students again, but he also looks forward to catching up with his former RDEE colleagues at post-pandemic events and conferences.
Jean Claude Mbomeda
After more than seven years of activities in 115 California community Colleges across California, grants for Regional Directors (RDs) and Statewide Director (SD) for Information and Communication Technology and Digital Media Sector will sunset on December 31, 2021. Through conferences, webinars, student competitions, instructors and administrators training, RD and SD have affected the life of thousands of students and instructors through a common vision to engage industry leaders with the goal of getting students ready to enter the workforce and to contribute to the growth of California economy.
As Chancellor’s office program monitor for ICT-DM sector, I am most thankful for the leadership of Statewide Sector Director, Steve Wright and the commitment, contributions and support of the Deputy Sector Navigators (DSN). Cybersecurity Boot camps, Curriculum development, Business Information Worker pathways and WASTC commitment to continue serving our ICT faculty are just few of the examples that I can name here to recognize the important role this sector has played in closing the needs of industries. Although we have done a lot in ICT-DM sector, standardizing sector curriculum to increase student mobility remains one of our main challenges in the California Community colleges system. I am proud of the partnerships and collaborations that regional directors have formed with businesses, industries and community colleges to better prepare students, respond to employer needs, closing gender and equity gaps among students from economically, and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds.
Working with the statewide ICT-DM Sector Team has been rewarding on many levels. It was a privilege to highlight in our newsletters the important work the Regional Directors accomplished over the years, and to see their enthusiasm for helping students at their local colleges. I’ve also enjoyed building relationships with IT and Business Office Systems faculty over the years, as they were an integral part of the development of the Business Information Worker and IT Technician pathways. We couldn’t have done it without their input and expertise. And our weekly webinar series was an exciting way to build an engaged educator community around IT and CTE topics that impacted our work and the lives of our students.
I am excited to now be working as a career coach for SynED. It’s gratifying to help our clients take the steps needed to start a new career or advance in their career journey.
-Nicole Sherman (email@example.com)