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Bringing IT and the Trades Together

Spring 2011 | Archives

In 2011, MCC will enhance efforts to bring applied technologies and information technology together, creating new pathways to a quality career.

Get into IT Inc.: MCC graduated the first cohort of students in this "problem-based learning" program in February; through real-world situations, low-income students received training in math, technical writing and IT in addition to soft skills such as teamwork and problem-solving. Students came from a variety of educational backgrounds, and mentors from IT and related industries helped provide networking opportunities for the students.

Robotics students The program provides a highly hands-on, nontraditional way for students to earn a degree. "It's contextualized learning," said Tom Pensabene, Dean of Information Technology and e-Learning. "It's learning the concepts as you would learn them if you were on the job." This fall, MCC hopes to expand the program to serve any student looking for an alternative, three-year path to a bachelor's degree.

Embedded Systems: MCC is looking to create more opportunities in embedded systems—computer systems designed to perform one or a few dedicated functions. Embedded systems can be found in everything from mp3 players and HVAC systems to vehicles and electric motors. At MCC, students can take classes in robotics to design, construct and program robots or other embedded systems. The training can lead to technical careers in the automotive, consumer electronics and medical devices industries, among others.

Center for Applied and Emerging Technology: "IT is very much becoming an enabling profession," Pensabene said, and MCC is working to recreate IT to better support the trades. The proposed center would create new ways of integrating the trades, IT and business. F or example, the Data Center Management Program would work with programs in Applied Technology to teach effective application of green principles.

P3 Grants: Funded through the U.S. Department of Labor, the P3 grant provides training opportunities and financial support for those entering or expanding skills in high-growth information technology careers. P3 grants are for MCC students, staff and community business partners. Students can receive tuition reimbursement for classes in robotics, gaming, data center and Visual C# programming; students can also get paid while using their IT skills at an internship or as a lab assistant.

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