Rebranding the 21st Century IT Technician
To address the need for more high-skilled Information Technology (IT) technicians in a six-county area district, Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC) is partnering with local school districts, community organizations, industry partners, the Spokane Workforce Consortium, and the Washington Center of Excellence for Information and Computing Technology. The project adjusts incoming students', enrolled students', and local employers' perceptions of IT technicians' ideal genders, skill sets, and degrees. The major activities are: (1) Offering IT summer camps for middle school girls, and professional development workshops for middle school teachers and counselors; (2) Teaching sections of science classes from the perspective of IT, and starting a chapter of American Women in Computing (AWS) on campus; and (3) Partnering with local employers to develop streamlined education-to-employment programs. The project increases the knowledge base of how to recruit and retain female students, and how to quickly make them post K-12 ready. It creates a curriculum that demonstrates interdependency between technology and science, and it develops procedures for establishing robust job shadowing and internship programs. The best practices established through this project can be extended to other STEM disciplines and technician training programs. Through a partnership with the Washington Center of Excellence for Information and Computing Technology; the project results will be available to instructors at all of the 34 community and technical colleges in that state. Through the ATE Mentor Connect program and the SC ATE Center, the results will be globally available on the SCATE.org and TeachingTechnician.org websites.