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Coursepower’s minor in Applied Computing is preparing to roll into another successful year, only months after the program’s first graduates received their diplomas.  Last August, over 1,200 incoming freshmen at Midlands-area colleges expressed interest in the program; this year, we hope to reach all incoming students.

The program is designed to prepare students to fill the need for employees with a fundamental understanding of computing.  With economic trends moving toward a focus in IT, why not arm yourself with the necessary skills now?  If you could become a better-rounded and highly sought-after employee in an already competitive job market, what do you have to lose?  At only 18 hours, Applied Computing allows students the freedom to take on another field – any major – not tying them to a solely technology-oriented degree path.

The program, with plans to expand, is currently offered through four Midlands-area colleges: The University of South Carolina, Midlands Technical College, Benedict College and Columbia College.

First Graduates with a Minor in Applied Computing

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 1.02.16 PMOn May 9th, two young men from Benedict College became the first Coursepower students to graduate with a minor in Applied Computing.  The students, Darris Thomas and Joseph Greene, completed the program under the guidance of Benedict’s program advisor and director, Dr. Hong Jiang.

With Darris and Joseph paving the way, many students will soon be following in their footsteps.  For now, it all starts with the new student orientations at each of our participating colleges.  Always looking forward to the future, we’re eager to meet the great IT minds of tomorrow.

You can read more about Darris and Joseph’s accomplishment here:  http://bctigernews.com/2015/04/benedict-college-announces-its-first-official-graduates-of-the-minor-in-applied-computing/.

PIC-Molly Spearman PEP Luncheon2On Wednesday, May 26th South Carolina Superintendent of Education, Molly Spearman, visited several schools in Greenville County and she culminated her visit by speaking at the Public Education Partners Luncheon. She had much to say to a room full of local business leaders, community members and local educators. She was impressed with how progressive Greenville was and how engaged the community was with area schools. But beyond her pleasantries about Greenville a few things hit home for me in my efforts to promote the IT‑oLogy Upstate offerings. She stressed the importance of engaging partnerships, creating opportunities for students in rural areas, continuing to build the technology infrastructure for virtual communications, creating career opportunities to serve the children across those imaginary district lines and replicating these programs to all communities. All of these points are exactly what IT-oLogy promotes and prides itself on accomplishing again and again in every Cyber

PIC-Molly Spearman2

Saturday it delivers across many counties in South Carolina. IT-oLogy Upstate is actively looking for those engaging partnerships so that we too can begin making those crucial connections to the students that Molly speaks of and that we at IT-oLogy know make a difference. If you would like to be a part of our success in the Upstate please contact Lisa Calhoun at lisa.calhoun@it-ology.org.

IT-oLogy Upstate will be delivering a modified Cyber Saturday on June 27th as part of the iMAGINE Upstate Transportation Hack-A-Thon. Keep checking Eventbrite for further details about this upcoming event.

Code Day Recap

June 2nd, 2015 | Posted by Emily Eckert in IT-oLogy Defined - (0 Comments)

Written by Kevin Rabinovich

After seeing something you really loved, have you ever thought to yourself, “Wow. How could I create something as amazing as that?” It can be really overwhelming—even seemingly impossible—especially if you’ve never done anything like it before. At CodeDay, though, we show students that they don’t have to have even a single day of experience to create something they love; there’s always a starting point.

Codeday 7That’s exactly what happened last weekend at IT-oLogy. At 12:00pm on Saturday, 30 students sat down in the Classroom, and prepared for the next 24 hours. First, idea pitching. Next, a planning session, followed by introductory programming and game development workshops, and after that, participants coded and designed their games through the night.

Of course, some mandatory breaks had to happen, even though the students were reluctant to take their hands off of their keyboards for more than a minute, so a game of FizzBuzz (a quick group math game) was played, and at around 11:00pm, antsy-ness was very much in the air, so everyone took a walk to the graveyard across the street.

The groups worked well, as the more experienced members of each team worked with the beginners to catch them up and answer any questions they had, and as a result, every team except one had a complete and fully-functional game built by the end of the 24 hours! One participant, who’d never had programming experience prior to CodeDay, thought his experience was rewarding and learned all about how hard it was to code and build a game from scratch.

CodeDay 1

IT-oLogy had the opportunity to share the value of business and education partnerships at the May CIO Forum.  David Kapfhammer, IT-oLogy Executive Council, set the stage with an introduction to IT-oLogy and the critical importance of business engaging with education to help grow the IT talent pipeline.  Dr. Sharon Jones, Technology High School IT Director Phillip O’Berry, and four students who shared their accomplishments, recognizing the value they receive through their connection with the business community wowed the attendees.

The students were selected for developing two of the five national winning apps as part of the national Lenovo Scholars afternoon program. They will be presenting their apps at the National Academy Foundation Conference in Anaheim, CA.  One of the winning apps is an on-the-go blood analyzer for children with diabetes that helps monitor blood-sugar levels, providing results to parents.  The other winning app distributes classroom rewards through the phone instead of on paper and allows students to use the app to cash them in.

Read more here: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/community/city-news/article21461460.html#storylink=cpy.

DSC_0197Over the last 10 years, WISE has recognized outstanding young women graduating from Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools with plans to pursue college studies in STEM. Our 2015 recipient is Jada Walters, a soon to be graduate of Providence High School.

Jada and her parents were invited to attend the Charlotte CIO Forum where she was recognized and receive the $2,500 scholarship.  Along with the scholarship, Jada was surprised with a Lenovo laptop and Microsoft Office package.

Selection criteria included GPA, essay, student awards, activities, and a finalist interview, along with a passion for pursuing a career in STEM.  Jada’s essay will highlight some of the reasons she was selected as the 2015 recipient.  You can read Jada’s essay here: 2015 WISE Girl Essays – Walters Jada.

centralcarolina-site-logo1426792917.4127IT-oLogy would like to thank everyone who supported us during the Midlands Gives fundraising campaign!  We were part of the many Midlands non-profit organizations who collectively raised over $1.5 million in 24 hours of fundraising, and we couldn’t have done it without you.  Thank you for making May 5th, 2015 such a successful day.  It’s all thanks to your generosity that we can continue to invest in the IT leaders of tomorrow, and impact the growth of IT today.

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From the President, Lonnie Emard

Rather than quote to you the words shown on the founders agreement, the website, or in various presentations, I would like to walk you through the original and lasting perspective of the organization branded IT-oLogy.  Our tagline says“advancing IT talent”, and the word advancing was chosen carefully. Since the driving force in forming this consortium of businesses and academic institutions was the ever increasing skill gap in the information technology profession, the word advancing creates a sense of a continuum for individuals, where development steps are taken and people find themselves in one of these situations.

1)     A student first learns about careers and opportunities in the IT profession.

2)     A student decides to build skills outside of the classroom in an area that interest them.

3)     A student finds classes in school that are industry validated and applicable to real work.

4)     A teacher (part of the IT profession when they teach computing) gets certified and equipped.

5)     A student enrolls in higher education in a degree area (major or minor) in computing and IT.

6)     A student acquires hands on skills through projects, internships and apprenticeships.

7)     An adult, either employed or unemployed, learns about careers/opportunities in IT.

8)     An adult decides to build skills in an IT area that interests them.

9)     An adult enrolls or re-enrolls to gain computing and IT skills.

10)  An adult acquires hands on skills through projects, internships and apprenticeships.

When these steps of “advancing IT talent” happen over and over again, we see the potential in closing the gap.  These 10 steps happen more efficiently and effectively when businesses and higher education work together to create the right message, curriculum and joint activities to address the needs of these students and adult career changers so that they become employable in the IT profession.

IT-oLogy addresses these requirements in the continuum through two initiatives called Promote IT and Teach IT.  The vision is that IT-oLogy, as an organization made up of many parts, is involved in identifying, developing and delivering programs to help individuals move through the skill building process.  This is referred to as workforce development and we are a part of this process, locally in communities, across several states and through influence nationally.

Our mission to advance IT talent has helped thousands of people get to the point of being hirable.  Yet the continuum doesn’t end there.  Once someone is in the IT profession, the demand for employees to keep their skills current is real and is part of the career path for people to continue to advance.

Since there are 26 occupations in the IT profession, each having their own requirements for advancement, but all leading to technical and managerial leadership opportunities, I won’t show all of those here, but note that IT-oLogy has developed roadmaps for guidance.

IT-oLogy has a third initiative called Grow IT that is all about IT employees and their companies finding innovative and cost effective ways to advance IT talent through joint knowledge sharing, professional development, IT management and leadership courses and collaborative projects.  Once again IT-oLogy has served thousands of existing IT professionals in taking the next step.

The result of a concerted effort to advance IT talent through the continuum beginning with someone knowing “zero about IT”, all the way through various levels within the IT profession, is that we have made a significant impact on the skills gap.  Are we done yet?  Absolutely not.  Have we created a model that considers every aspect of what it takes for companies who hire IT professionals to thrive and be successful?  Absolutely yes.

When this all comes together for startups, small companies, medium and large size companies in a community, what is the outcome that has been observed?  It has been economic development and distinctive competitive advantage.

Be a part of IT-oLogy, starting right now!

Tell me your thoughts at lonnie.emard@it-ology.org  or follow me on twitter @lonnieemard

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 3.46.47 PMAs yet another school year comes to a close, parents everywhere are wondering the same thing: how will we keep our child busy this summer?  Whether you’re looking to keep your kids’ minds sharp, or simply trying to keep your youngest out of trouble, we here at IT-oLogy have been one step ahead of you. Throughout the summer, we’ll be brining you the latest and greatest summertime activities that will keep the whole family interested, engaged and active in IT.

1.  Bee-Bot

For the young, elementary-aged student, Bee-Bot is a fun introduction to robotics.  This easy-to-operate little guy combines fun time with simultaneously learning estimation, sequencing and problem-solving skills.  With up to 40 directional commands, Bee-Bot will happily navigate most surface floors, or one of many possible mats. Find out more at: https://www.bee-bot.us/.

2.  Raspberry Pi

No, you won’t be sharing slices of this Pi.  The tiny, open hardware computer (that’s probably smaller than your smartphone) can be used to create and control nearly any project you can imagine.  Not just compact, the Pi is pretty affordable, starting at $25.  The Raspberry Pi website is loaded with ideas to get you started.  Not convinced?  Check out these cool projects that your child can make (yes, they’re all possible!): http://readwrite.com/2014/01/21/raspberry-pi-great-projects.

Due to the increased level of difficulty, Pi is probably best for ages middle school and up.  To order a Raspberry Pi or find out more about the open hardware technology, head to their homepage here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/.

3.  Stop Motion Cafe

If your child is interested in animations or has a knack for all-things cinematic, this could be the perfect thing to get them going.  Smartphone and tablet compatible, this fun app makes powerful stop-motion and time-lapse sequences simple.  Let your imagination flow, and spend all afternoon making a miniature film!  This app is probably best for older ages, unless you don’t mind younger ones using your smart devices.  You can read more about the app here: http://www.stopmotioncafe.com/wp/.

Cyber Saturday Logo

In case you missed the big news: our Cyber Saturday program is expanding!  IT-oLogy hosted a meet-and-greet in Eutawville, SC, on May 2nd, where over 40 people attended! This was a phenomenal first step on our mission to expand IT into rural areas.  We sat down with our PromoteIT Director Jamesetta James to get to know more behind our Cyber Saturday expansion.

  Why are we expanding?

Jamesetta James:         Our services are currently offered to K12 students in the Columbia, Charleston, and Greenville areas as well as in Charlotte, NC. However, there is also a great need to provide students in rural areas the opportunity to explore and experience technology in new ways and learn about the variety of career path available into the IT profession.  Cyber Saturday is just the program to offer that, and Eutawville provides a unique opportunity as our first expansion of IT learning.  This expansion opportunity is made possible by a Innovation Grant awarded by the South Carolina Department of Commerce to IT-oLogy to expand its Cyber Saturday programs also to underserve and underrepresented areas.

Why did you pick Eutawville? Unknown

JJ:        First, it’s located in Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3, which is where I attended elementary, middle and high school.  Growing up, it was obvious that more could be done to advance the town, so bringing technology to the area is just the boost that it needs. Secondly, it’s important that the Eutawville community do not miss out on the opportunities available in the IT job market now and in the upcoming years. Although the town is not considered a booming town, or someplace you would think of as a “technology hub,” there are untapped potential waiting to be discovered.

Can we expect more expansion in the future?

JJ:        Absolutely!  Eutawville is just one of the three rural sectors where we’re planning to grow our program.  Cyber Saturday will also be expanded in Berkley and Greenville Counties rural communities and particularly their Title I schools.

What is the overall impact you hope to have on the towns where Cyber Saturday is expanded?

JJ:        In one word: exposure.  When someone is exposed to something new, their curiosity is piqued and leaves them wanting to learn more.  At our Eutawville Meet and Greet event on May 2nd, curiosities were definitely heightened by each student displaying his or her creative thinking, logical and problem solving skills to complete the assigned tasks.  What a fun filled day had by all.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 2.16.42 PMOn April 24th IT-oLogy WISE presented the annual National Council of Women and Information Technology (NCWIT) North Carolina Aspirations in Computing Awards. Fifteen young high school women from across the state and a state technology educator were honored at the One Bank of America Conference Center. The event was sponsored by Bank of America and Skookum Digital Works.

The NCWIT NC Affiliate Award for Aspirations in Computing offers competition to generate support and visibility for young women’s participation in computing around the state.  Young women at the high-school level are recognized for their computing-related achievements and interests.

NC Affliate winners 2015Students are selected on their computing and IT aptitude, leadership ability, academic history, and plans for post-secondary education.  Recipients receive engraved awards, opportunities for scholarships, internships, research experiences, and other educational and employment opportunities provided by NCWIT member organizations.

To get involved with IT-oLogy WISE, contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org