One goal of the West Virginia Community and Technical College System is to train the work force of the future.
In an effort to meet that goal, students at the state's community and technical colleges will have access to advanced information technology training materials, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced March 26. The resources, provided by IBM Academic Initiative, will help students prepare for jobs in areas such as business analytics, cloud computing and cyber security.
"Training students for jobs in cloud computing, business intelligence, database systems and other IT-related fields calls for instructional content that is current and industry-relevant," James Skidmore, chancellor of WVCTCS, said in a news release. "The IBM Academic Initiative provides pertinent technical content to faculty and students that would be unavailable if it were not for this partnership."
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, IT jobs are expected to grow by 22 percent through 2020. And as more organizations turn to technology, the need for skilled professionals continues to grow.
"Through this cutting-edge program from IBM, our students can learn critical new IT skills that lead to good-paying, in-demand jobs," Tomblin said in a statement. "I am grateful for the number of companies, including IBM, who continue to help lead the way in enhancing instruction through industry-relevant partnerships and for opening the door to so many opportunities to West Virginians to obtain advanced technical skills from which the next generation of computer experts will embark."
The IBM Academic Initiative is a global program that facilitates the relationship between IBM and educators to teach students the IT skills needed to be competitive and keep up with changes in the work place. More than 6,000 colleges and universities and 30,00 faculty members worldwide have joined the initiative.
"IBM is committed to help closing the growing IT skills gap by providing students and faculty with access to leading enterprise software and learning resources," said Jim Corgel, general manager of academic relations for IBM. "These technology skills are increasingly important to IBM right here in West Virginia, as we support our clients."
All 10 CTCs in West Virginia currently are working to integrate the IBM content into their programs.