Advertisement

West Virginia's IS program needs business component

June 12, 2000

Using a $960,000 grant, the State of West Virginia will develop an information technology program that will be shared with all of the state's community colleges, through a mix of courses delivered by live instructors on campuses or over the Internet. Now government officials need to look at how to entice companies that might employ such students, unless they want to watch those they've trained leave the state in search of work.

The program was announced Sunday by James Skidmore, a higher education official who said that the grant would enable the state to develop one curriculum for all schools, as opposed to forcing each campus to develop its own.

As envisioned by higher-education officials, students in the curriculum would learn more than computer skills. In one segment, they would take interpersonal skills, math, communications and laboratory science. In a second section, they would study critical thinking and project management.

Advertisement

The third and final piece would be training, including internships, in brand-specific technology, such as Microsoft, Cisco or Novell.

This last part of the plan assumes that there would be enough companies to handle a series of interns, but while that might be true on the Eastern Panhandle, some of the interior counties might have a tough time with that requirement.

That's why the state should begin now to develop some incentives for companies to start up of locate near these community college sites, so that when the courses are ready - and developing them is expected to take three years - students will have places to do internships.

This is especially important because according to an extensive survey of state residents done last summer by The Associated Press, citizens said they felt their schools are doing a good job, but resented the fact that their tax dollars pay for the education of many who graduate and find employment elsewhere. It would be a shame to spend three years and millions of tax dollars developing such a program, only to see other states reap the benefits.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|