RITA training NCTC students for high-tech jobs

by NCTC Public Relations | Jan 06, 2016 <p> </p>

Two years ago, North Central Texas College and three Minnesota community colleges aligned to receive an $18.3 million grant to expand demand-driven skills training and strengthen employer partnerships through the Rural Information Technology Alliance (RITA). The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program, a multi-year, nearly $2 billion initiative to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Labor.

As a partner in this consortium, NCTC was awarded $4.66 million over a four-year period to expand the college's Information Technology programs to include CyberSecurity, CISCO, VoIP Certificate, Databases, Web Design and Microsoft certifications. Major industry partners include CISCO and Microsoft. These funds are being used to strengthen infrastructure, updating equipment in all IT labs, adding new faculty and enhancing curriculum. NCTC has added new programs in CyberSecurity and Database and are adding more online and hybrid courses throughout the IT department.

Information technology programs offered at NCTC include:

• Computer Information Systems & Tech Certificate/AAS

• Cyber Security Certificate/AAS

• Database Certificate/AAS

• Game Design and Applications Programming Certificate/AAS

• Networking Technology Certificate/AAS

• Office Systems Technology Certificate/AAS

• Web Design Certificate

RITA also continues to invest in professional development for faculty and staff, to keep abreast of the latest developments in technology, best practices in teaching and course development, and new strategies on providing top quality support and services. This past summer, RITA contracted with InsideTrack for a year of training and support for all education and employment coaches in the grant and a team of counselors and advisors from NCTC Student Services. InsideTrack is a leading student success organization that focuses on improving student outcomes by helping students thrive and graduate prepared to make meaningful contributions to society. The goal is to assist students in developing the habits they need for long-term success in the workplace and in life.

At NCTC, students are taking advantage of the opportunities available for them to receive high-tech training and career coaching in these high-demand career fields. In two years, more than 400 students have joined the RITA Grant.

"The impact and value RITA brings to NCTC's Information Technology programs is reflected by our participation numbers," said NCTC RITA Grant Manager Susan Svane. "It is incredibly gratifying to work with a great team of individuals who are impacting lives every day."

The RITA Grant also provided funding for NCTC's IT Career Connection Center located in Corinth's Pinnell Square. In addition to taking classes, students are able to access the Learning Resource Center inside the ITCCC for IT tutoring. Peer tutors are program students who have already taken and mastered the courses, providing both help in both one-on-one and small groups. Students can take advantage of free onsite test prep software and use NCTC's IT testing center. Since opening the testing center, students have earned more than 100 nationally-recognized industry certifications. During 2015, students had the opportunity to qualify for free test vouchers paid for with Carl Perkins funds. This past year, participants who took advantage of the free vouchers had an 83 percent passing rate on exams like CompTIA A+, ComptTIA Linux+, CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+, and CISCO CCNA.

For more information on the RITA Grant and the programs offered, contact Susan Svane at 940-498-6440 or by email at ssvane@nctc.edu. You can also visit the RITA website at www.nctc.edu/CTE/RITA.

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