December, 17, 2013
ARNOLD, MD—The Wadhwani Foundation, a nonprofit organization located in Palo Alto, Calif., recently announced its partnership with Anne Arundel Community College/National STEM Consortium for the transformation of curriculum for the Cyber Technology Certificate Program designed to prepare entry-level cyber technology workers for career pathways in information technology (IT).
The purpose of the partnership is to launch the Foundation’s first U.S.-based job training initiative, Race to a Job (RTAJ).
Building upon the transformative work already completed by the U.S. Department of Labor-funded National STEM Consortium (NSC), the partnership for RTAJ seeks to introduce the use of educational technology in the delivery of the Cyber Technology Certificate. Trainees will come from a diversity of backgrounds and will upgrade their skills and gain stackable credentials to further their careers.
The partnership aims to meet sector demands. According to the 2013 Burning Glass International Inc. report on Cybersecurity Jobs, employer demand has grown exponentially in the last five years – 3.5 times faster than computer jobs and 12 times faster than the labor market overall. The report also states that cybersecurity job postings are also three times as likely to request a certification, as compared to other computer jobs.
Convenient, online instruction for working participants
The Race to a Job training will be delivered in a blended learning format, leveraging both online off-line and hybrid teaching and it will also use state-of-the-art interactive, multimedia, and gaming technologies.
The delivery of instruction will support the hectic schedules of working participants, and will serve as a model for other educational programs around the U.S. Courses will be offered through a “cloud”-based delivery system—interacting a large number of computers connected through a real-time communication network such as the Internet—to support both online and offline learning strategies. Participants will have ready online access to their instructors, as well as the opportunity to interact with each other, through digital-support networks.
“AACC is excited to again be at the forefront of innovation in learning and workforce development,” said AACC President Dr. Dawn Lindsay. “It is wonderful to be able to sustain and scale the curriculum that the National STEM Consortium has created to serve even more workers by improving their skills and increasing their earning potential.”
Digitizing a curriculum and providing a model for other programs
Leveraging more than a decade of experience in high-impact economic acceleration in India, the Wadhwani Foundation’s first initiative in the U.S., Race to a Job, is designed to transform the delivery system for workforce development in America.
According to Wadhwani Foundation CEO, Dr. Ajay Kela, “What Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have done for access to academic education, and what Khan Academy has done for the delivery of math education, is what the Wadhwani Foundation seeks to do for the delivery of workforce education through Race to a Job.”
A dedicated team of content and instructional experts
The first step in the Race to a Job pilot program will be to analyze and digitize the Cyber Technology Certificate curriculum jointly developed and in use now at AACC and NSC partner colleges Cuyahoga Community College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Ivy Tech Community College and Northwest Arkansas Community College. That digitization will involve subject matter experts from AACC and NSC, as well as cyber technology employers and instructional designer professionals. Technology vendors then will be contracted through a rigorous proposal selection process to build the enhanced digital content.
“This initiative directly supports and augments the innovative curriculum development that has already taken place,” said Susan Gallagher, Project Director, NSC. “It will provide participants with enhanced learning opportunities in an immersive technological environment.”
Completion of the Cyber Technology Certificate will prepare students for careers in a variety of sectors, ranging from security and defense to health care and retail, making credentialed students competitive for positions with some of the nation’s leading employers, including: ARINC, Walmart, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin; Citi, Ernst & Young; Kaiser Permanente; Target and CVS.
Among those attending a formal signing ceremony of the Memorandum of Agreement at AACC to commemorate the partnership were Wadhwani Foundation CEO Dr. Ajay Kela, AACC President Dr. Dawn S. Lindsay, AACC Vice President for Learning Dr. Karen Hays and Fred Ferrer, Chief, Critical Infrastructure/Key Resources Branch - Anti-Terrorism Division, Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center.