Tulsa Community College Students Ride the IT Wave

Tulsa Community College recently received funding through a President’s Community-Based Job Training Grant from the Department of Labor that is enabling it to provide cutting-edge technology training to local IT professionals.
“Wavebreak” is a multi-faceted program providing up-to-the minute IT and technical instruction via a flexible degree program, a one-year intensive cohort program or a professional certification program.
The degree program offers students an Associate of Applied Science degree in technology. Students can determine which courses they want to take, exploring their options in the IT field, and basically build their own degree.
However, a major part of Wavebreak is geared toward IT professionals who have worked in the technology industry but need further training to better their careers.
“The problem with the IT training offered in community colleges is that it’s almost always outdated. The technology industry moves so fast that it’s difficult for colleges to keep up,” said Tom Mancino, associate dean of business and information technology. “The Wavebreak symbol is a wave because we want to stay ahead of the wave of technology. We want our students to pop out of their training and come into the marketplace with the technical skills required at the time.”
Wavebreak’s one-year professional cohort program, funded by the department of labor grant, offers focused, intensive training in one of three areas – mobile development, Web development and cloud computing – and the students who are accepted (Mancino says there is a rigorous application process) receive up to 100 percent tuition assistance, as well as the hardware they need (i.e. a laptop computer, iPod, etc.) to complete the course.
The program is not a degree, but it offers students already working in the IT field the education and training needed to further their careers.
TCC is also partnering with local companies, like Cherokee Nation Enterprises and EDS, to offer training to their employees.
In that vein, TCC will pay up to 100 percent of the cost of the course and also pay for the student to be certified in that particular course.
For instance, EDS will send its new hires to TCC’s Wavebreak to be trained in a specific area. TCC will pay for the training and then pay for that hire’s certification, enabling the candidate to achieve employment by EDS.
Mancino said TCC is still actively pursuing industry partners for its Wavebreak program.
“The program is designed to spur job creation in the Tulsa community,” said Mancino.
“The hope for the program is that, once students have completed it, they will find work locally, either by going to work for a local company or starting their own business.”
“The Web is such an invigorating place, with everything so dynamic and changing. It naturally breeds entrepreneurship,” said Mancino. “I’m sure some students will come out of the mobile development program and create their own application for the iPhone and sell it at the Apple store. I really hope the program will generate some entrepreneurial activity.”
The Department of Labor grant funds Wavebreak for three years. After that, TCC will still offer the program, but the cost to the student will vary depending on the availability of funds. Mancino said that, by then, he hopes the program’s effectiveness will have been proven to its industry partners and they will help share some of its cost.



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