Rochester, Minn. – Winona State University – Rochester (WSU-R) and Destination Medical Center (DMC) will host an Information Technology (IT) Open House Jan. 16, 2018 to support the growing IT industry. The event will feature an IT industry professional panel as well as an opportunity for attendees to discuss workforce training needs. A survey revealed top priorities to developing instructor-led virtual or blended delivery modules in the most relevant languages including Java, Python, SQL, Java Script and HTML. The industry is interested in the flexibility of non-degree modules that could, when combined with a capstone or portfolio assessment, qualify for degree credit. 

 Minnesota State, IT Center of Excellence Director, Wilson Garland, served as a resource to facilitate a focus group seeking insight into industry needs. A plausible solution has been identified through a variety of methods from local IT professionals. Winona State University and Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) worked together to review the survey results and identify next steps. Dr. Linda Kingston, Winona State University’s Assistant VP of Distance Learning & Summer Session, believes collaboration is key to meeting current and future IT community needs. “Our goal is to develop curriculum that will meet the short-term training needs of our industry partners while providing opportunities to access credit toward degree completion at either the Associate or Baccalaureate degree level. We hope to have a completed product available to incumbent workers within the upcoming academic year.” said Kingston. WSU-R and RCTC worked together to review the survey results and identify next steps.

 Dr. Jeanine Gangeness, Associate Vice President and Dean for Graduate Studies at WSU-R, values the commitment her faculty and staff have for meeting workforce needs. “WSU-Rochester was honored to be engaged by local professionals to survey and establish a plan for higher education institutions to respond to the needs in our community,” said Gangeness.

 RCTC is considering a concept model for both short and long-term programming that could translate to the two and four-year degree levels. The target for this type of program would be to educate junior developers with a basic knowledge and experience, who need to learn more advanced concepts in application development and language specific knowledge. RCTC’s Director of Business and Workforce Education, Dr. Jennifer Wilson notes the importance of seeking out various pathways that meet the needs of both our businesses and our future workforce. “As educators, we must be flexible, yet responsive to the needs of industry by exploring innovative educational approaches that meet the continuously evolving IT conditions,” said Wilson.

 Join us for the IT Open House to on January 16, 2018 at Cambria, 400 S. Broadway, Rochester from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.   with IT professional panelists: David Borrillo, VP, Mobile Innovation of CoreLogic, Chris Lukenbill, Founder of Fresh Edge, and Nadia Wood, IT Architect at Mayo Clinic and Founder & CEO of The Hybrids.

 This event is free and open to the public, prior registration is recommended at: wsu.mn/IT-open-house 

 For more information about the IT Training Initiative, please contact: Julie Kiehne at 507.457-5088                jkiehne@winona.edu.

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