To meet regional IT needs, Tri-C launches tech center of excellence

The demand for highly skilled information technology professionals in Northeast Ohio is only intensifying — and Cuyahoga Community College is meeting the challenge by launching the Information Technology Center of Excellence.

IT is a fast-paced, ever-changing field, and Tri-C is positioned to provide students the technical expertise to stay ahead of the curve. Programs such as cyber security, data analytics and cloud computing will provide industry certifications and degrees that students need to actively engage in Northeast Ohio’s competitive work environment.

Tri-C students will be among the first professionals in the region with these credentials. Through partnerships with four-year institutions, students can follow pathways to continue their IT journey towards a bachelor’s degree in a technical field.

Monique Wilson, Ph.D., who leads the center, brought a wealth of industry knowledge when she joined Tri-C in July 2014. Since then, Wilson has leveraged existing academic and workforce programming to enhance career and educational opportunities for Tri-C students.

Local collaborations

Partnerships with local companies have been the hallmark of the Information Technology Center.

Collaboration between the college and Sherwin-Williams to deliver Oracle Functional Training provide the company’s entry-level IT workforce with the skills needed to use Oracle in a functional capacity. This is fundamental in helping to fill a pipeline of new employees as Sherwin-Williams’ IT division expands in Cleveland.

By working with Tri-C, the Cuyahoga County Department of Information Technology is offering on-site training courses for employees to increase their skills in A+, Network+, Administering Windows Server 2012, Configuring Advanced Windows Server 2012 and Automating Administration with Windows PowerShell.

The college, in partnership with Hyland, creator of OnBase, is delivering the OnBase Certified System Administrator certification. Professionals who take the training and receive their certification will support and maintain OnBase software at Hyland client sites. Upon completion of the certification, students will have the opportunity to participate in college-sponsored networking events with local companies looking for certified system administrators.

Four other centers

The IT Center of Excellence joins four previously established centers of excellence: Nursing, the Public Safety Training Institute, the Center for Creative Arts and the Hospitality Management Center. To be considered a Tri-C Center of Excellence, an educational program must meet certain criteria. It addresses a key area in which future growth is expected; it is a key supplier of skilled workers for local employers and has a broad impact on the region; it enrolls a large number of students each year with demonstrated high success rates; it offers innovative programs using state-of-the-art facilities; and it receives national recognition in its field.

The launch of the IT Center of Excellence allows Tri-C students access to state-of-the-art facilities, nationally recognized faculty and specialized partnerships. As students achieve their educational goals and secure fulfilling employment upon completion, the technology workforce of Northeast Ohio — and the entire region — will benefit.

Alex Johnson, Ph.D., is president of Cuyahoga Community College. He focuses on strengthening the college’s more than 50-year mission of providing high-quality, accessible and affordable educational opportunities and services. Since becoming president in July 2013, he has promoted access, equity, success and completion for the nearly 60,000 credit and non-credit students who attend Tri-C’s eight campuses and centers throughout Greater Cleveland each year. Contact him at [email protected]