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By: Kevin Rabinovich

Why I decided to bring the nationwide hackathon to my city and what it’s about.

About two years ago, I went to my first-ever hackathon: the National Day of Civic Hacking. I wasn’t able to participate (I got there late), but I volunteered for a little while, serving snacks and watching other people who were just as interested in coding and design work away, furiously drinking Mountain Dew in an effort to stay awake. In the morning, I watched each team give their presentation about their product, and the more I watched, the more I fell in love with the idea of a hackathon. Not only is it a great and cheap way to introduce anyone — designers, coders, and anyone else who loves technology — to different aspects of the product design and development process, but it also forces collaboration and quick thinking.

Last October, I received an email with the subject, “Thought you might be interested,” and a link to CodeDay, a series of nationwide hackathons. It seemed like a cool idea, and I was already planning on organizing a hackathon for high schoolers in the area, so I reached out to StudentRND (CodeDay’s parent organization) about hosting a CodeDay in Columbia, and they were on board — CodeDay Columbia was born!

I began working with IT-oLogy to see how we could realize this event, and we have been busy planning preparing for this event, from start to finish. Just like most other hackathons, there is, obviously, a hack-all-night-with-stimulating-food aspect, but CodeDay is also a beginner-friendly event, so we’ll be having workshops (that require no prior experience) led by experienced professionals. Before everything kicks off, though, anyone who wants will pitch an idea for a game, website, or app, and then teams form around the best of those ideas. The teams perfect their ideas, and begin hacking away into the evening. Dinner is served, then a midnight snack, then breakfast, and before you know it, it’s almost time to present ideas to the judges! A panel will judge all the products based on practicality, viability, teamwork, and effort, among other things, and the winners get a prize!

If you want to be a part of the inaugural CodeDay Columbia taking place the weekend of February 14-15, we are running a 50% Early Bird discount for tickets until February 7. Register at https://codeday.org/columbia/register.

Read Kevin’s blog at: https://medium.com/@kevinrabinovich/codeday-columbia-c2dfc1927e31

Has your organization experienced challenges related to the skills gap that persists in the United States? You are certainly not alone. Consider these findings:

  • In 2012, according to a study conducted by the University of Missouri-St.Louis: over 25% of employers reported a deficiency in Critical & Analytical Thinking in the workforce (amongst a wide variety of other gaps)
  • In 2013, according to an Adecco study: over 44% of employers reported a significant gap in soft skills – - Communication, Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration
  • In 2014, according to a study conducted by LMA Consulting and published by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence: 87% of manufacturing and distribution executives are experiencing challenges directly related to the skills gap. 64% of these executives stated that the gap is wide or bigger than in years past. Amongst the findings, 61.1% reported a lack of Problem-Solving skills; 50% reported a lack of Critical/Analytical Thinking skills.

These numbers are staggering. However, if you have spent any time out in the field with organizations in almost any industry, you hear the anecdotal evidence that supports the data. Companies are struggling to not only find talent, but to find skilled talent.

So what are the solutions? There is no short list of “silver bullet” quick fixes. However, one proven methodology that leading organizations are using as part of the solution is Lean Six Sigma (LSS). In a very small nutshell, Lean focuses on the relentless pursuit of the elimination of waste in all forms. It also aims to reduce process cycle times (not working faster – but improving the process!). When you think of waste, don’t think solely on what you put out on the curb this morning. Continuous improvement professionals typically categorize waste into 8 types, including intangible categories such as wasted movement, waiting, over processing, etc. Six Sigma, on the other hand, was developed by Motorola in the 1980’s and focuses its efforts on streamlining processes to eliminate variation and defects. Lean Six Sigma combines these methodologies into a powerful system that places a hyper-focus on two things: the Customer and the Pursuit of Operational Excellence.

What is the connection to the skills gap as reported above? I would argue that Lean Six Sigma provides:

  1. Tools to drive common sense improvement as well as success and collaboration in the organization whether you are a manufacturer, a healthcare provider, or a technology organization.
  2. A framework for better problem-solving, critical/analytical thinking and decision-making. As we all know, the Big Data movement has companies collecting, using, and leveraging data in powerful ways to gain competitive advantage, but even if you have vaults of data, you must have a successful, effective system for utilizing the data. Otherwise, you have a Ferrari in the garage that is never taken out for a spin.
  3. A new way of thinking about your process, your department, your organization and your enterprise. The new eyes and ears that one gains by training in Lean Six Sigma can be transformative.

How do you learn more about Lean Six Sigma? Join us on February 27th at IT-oLogy’s Headquarters in Columbia, SC as we conduct our second Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification workshop. This one-day workshop will offer participants a fundamental overview of Lean Six Sigma tools & methodology in a very practical, interactive manner. Our first LSS Yellow Belt certification workshop with IT-oLogy and Innovista Learning was conducted on December 5th and enjoyed the participation of a diverse group of almost 30 professionals from a wide range of companies: BASF, Metso, Black Box, Jarden Applied Materials, South State Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and others. The training and curriculum resonated with the audience, but the best practice and information-sharing amongst the professional audience was powerful as well. One attendee’s perspective:

“The Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt workshop at IT-oLogy was a super productive single day learning experience that did an excellent job of instilling a solid baseline into the Lean Six Sigma body of knowledge.  I came away with new insights into project-focused frameworks that I was able to put to work right away. The scope of the workshop was a good fit for giving me new tools that I’m now using for measuring and improving our projects and processes, and that gives us better control of our outcomes. By taking this first step into leveraging the Six Sigma approaches, I feel like we have a higher confidence level that we’ll get better ROI from our efforts by using the concisely defined approaches that everyone on our team can understand, and that’s important for moral and buy-in to continuous improvement efforts. Overall, I was really impressed with the instructor, Peter Sherman, who did an expert job of transferring a wealth of process improvement skills and knowledge to the participants.” – - Mr. Tom Cranmer, Chief Technology Officer, Richland School District Two.

Join us on February 27th at IT-oLogy to experience Lean Six Sigma for yourself. Get more information here: www.riverwoodassociates OR contact Scott W. Luton at 678.296.5268 or scott@riverwoodassociates.com

Apply for STEM Scholarships today! IT-oLogy and partners are awarding three scholarships in 2015. Applications are being accepted, and we look forward to receiving yours.

 

1. CapTech Consulting:  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Scholarship

Qualified applicants will be considered for the CapTech Consulting STEM Scholarship, a value of $2,500.  Applicants must be a Charlotte Mecklenburg School 2014-2015 graduating senior planning to pursue studies in a STEM discipline.

Applications accepted January 19 through February 18, 2015.  For information and the application, click on the following link:

http://www.itology.org/CharlotteNC/Scholarships/CapTech%20Consulting%20Scholarship.aspx

Please send questions to captechscholarship@it-ology.org or call Kay Read, 704-516-3633.

 

2. Logical Advantage The Future Path Technology Scholarship

The Logical Advantage Future Path Technology Scholarship is awarded annually to a Mecklenburg County high school senior who has been accepted to a North Carolina college or university to study computer science or a related technology degree.   The scholarship value is $3,000.

This scholarship recognizes the student that has demonstrated a desire to learn and use technology beyond the classroom.  The student is one that will spend time outside of school researching technology, finding ways to learn on their own, and has utilized technology in a practical way.

Applications accepted January 19 – February 18.   For information, click on the following link: http://www.itology.org/CharlotteNC/Scholarships/Logical%20Advantage%20Scholarship.aspx

 

3. WISE Girl  STEM Scholarship

The WISE Girl Scholarship will recognize one female senior from Mecklenburg County who excels in Science, Information Technology, Engineering or Math.  The scholarship value is $2,500.

Applications accepted January 19 – March 15.  For more information or to apply click here

http://www.it-ology.org/CharlotteNC/Scholarships/WISE%20Scholarship.aspx

Please send questions to wisegirlscholarship@gmail.com  or call Kay Read, 704-516-3633

The official re-launch of WISE (Women & IT, Science and Engineering), as a program of IT-oLogy was held January 26th. WISE partnered with the National Center for Women and IT (NCWIT) for an evening discussion on ‘He for She in IT’. The capacity crowd heard keynote speaker Avis Rivers Yates (President & CEO,  Technology Concepts Group International &  NCWIT Board Member) deliver an engaging keynote on the NCWIT research on Male Advocates and Allies:  Promoting Gender Diversity in Technology Workplaces. Avis followed with a discussion on the topic with distinguished panelists: Chris Estes (State of NC CIO), Steve Hagood (SVP and CIO), Ingersoll Rand, Laurie Readhead (Enterprise CIO and Data Officer), Bank of America, Jeff Stovall (CIO, City of Charlotte), and Valerie Truesdale (Chief Officer of Technology, Personalized Learning & Engagement, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools).

At the event, leaders also joined the Sit with Me campaign. All were invited to validate and recognize the important role women play in creating future technology by sitting in the red chair and sharing their story.

For information about the WISE program and future sponsorship opportunities, contact Kay Read kay.read@it-ology.org.

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There is much excitement around the Blue Diamond IT Awards celebration. Seventy-four nominations were submitted. “ We were surprised to learn the nominations represent more than 50 different unique businesses, organizations and individuals across the region. We are very pleased with these results, the first year back after the seven year hiatus” says Dan Royle, ettain group and 2015 Blue Diamond Awards co-chair.

The judging teams have assessed all nominations and determined the finalists. They are:

 

Business Value – Small/Medium

Barnhardt Manufacturing

ecomdash

Thinkgate

 

Business Value – Corporate

Bank of America

LPL Financial

Rubbermaid Healthcare

 

Business Value – Non-Profit

Apparo

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

City of Charlotte

 

Cool Innovation

ecomdash

Hours Tracking, Tapity

SmartCharge Bulb, TVL International

 

Human Capital

Logical Advantage

Queen Associates

Tech Talent South

 

Student Innovator

Michael K, Young Engineers of Today

Crystal S, Girl Develop IT

Zack M, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools

 

IT Entrepreneur

David Jones, Peak 10

Brian Kelly, CloudGenera

Eric Waynick, Thinkgate

 

Community Outreach

Bosch Rexroth Olympic Community of Schools

STARS Computing Corps

Women Executive WINGS

 

For the celebration information and  sponsorship opportunities, go to www.bluediamondawards.com  or contact Kay Read, kay.read@it-ology.org.

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A Collaborative Plan for Apprenticeships

By: Lonnie Emard, IT-oLogy President

A great example of what can happen when multiple organizations get together to focus on an objective or an outcome and creative, functional ideas get implemented. In South Carolina, Apprenticeship Carolina, an organization that is part of the SC Technical College System has made such tremendous strides that the US Department of Labor is noticing. The organization, led by Brad Neese, is viewed as a model for apprenticeship expansion and for collaboration among state agencies engaged in workforce development.

As this program has evolved over the years, it has served 11,367 apprentices across seven different industry and professional groups. One of those is Information Technology. Now this audience knows that when we say IT, we don’t just mean the industry of IT, we mean the profession of IT that runs across truly every business and industry vertical. In fact, several of the IT-oLogy partners in South Carolina participate in the Apprenticeship Carolina program which provides a framework for companies to successfully implement successful apprenticeship programs. In fact, BlueCross BlueShield SC was recognized last year as having one of the largest IT apprenticeship programs in the country.

So where do you come in?

To increase this successful collaboration, IT-oLogy is working with Apprenticeship Carolina, as well as the United State Department of Labor to expand these programs and meet our labor demands with highly effective, proven programs that contain incentives for employers. Since our mission is to bring business partners together with economic and workforce efforts that include higher education partners and other IT education providers, we are delivering an invite to each and every company out there that hires IT professionals.

We want to help coordinate in an efficient and effective manner the repeatable process of implementing these types of programs in small, medium and large companies. We recently surveyed many of our partners to let you tell us about your hiring needs. I want to personally use this newsletter article to be my “call to action” for you to consider the apprenticeship program that we will be make available to you. Even if you already do them, please let us know and we can aggregate the scope and scale of this effort.

I am asking you as a representative of your company to do whatever it takes, speak to the right people and make a concerted effort to try this process. As I mentioned earlier, we will be working with the DOL and they have made $100 million of grant money available across the US to grow apprenticeships. Our ability to bring the source of jobs (companies like yours) to the table will cause great things to happen.

Let me close with a request that you email me with your comments, your potential interest and hopefully your commitments at lonnie.emard@it-ology.org. Oh, and don’t forget to follow me @lonnieemard on Twitter.

Riverwood AssociatesThe following blog post was written by Riverwood Associates partner, Scott Luton.

Have you heard about or has your organization experienced challenges related to the skills gap that persists in the United States? You are certainly not alone. Consider these findings:

  • In 2012, according to a study conducted by the University of Missouri-St.Louis: over 25% of employers reported a deficiency in Critical & Analytical Thinking in the workforce (amongst a wide variety of other gaps)
  • In 2013, according to an Adecco study: over 44% of employers reported a significant gap in soft skills – - Communication, Critical thinking, Creativity, Collaboration
  • In 2014, according to a study conducted by LMA Consulting and published by the Association for Manufacturing Excellence: 87% of manufacturing and distribution executives are experiencing challenges directly related to the skills gap. 64% of these executives stated that the gap is wide or bigger than in years past. Amongst the findings, 61.1% reported a lack of Problem-Solving skills; 50% reported a lack of Critical/Analytical Thinking skills.

These numbers are staggering. However, if you have spent any time out in the field with organizations in almost any industry, you hear the anecdotal evidence that supports the data. Companies are struggling to not only find talent, but find skilled talent. So what are the solutions? There is no short list of silver bullet quick fixes. However, one proven methodology that some organizations are using as part of the solution is Lean Six Sigma (LSS). In a very small nutshell: Lean focuses on the relentless pursuit of the elimination of waste, in all forms. It also aims to reduce process cycle times (not working faster – but improving the process!). When you think of waste, don’t think solely on what you put out on the curb this morning. Continuous improvement professionals typically categorize waste into 8 types, including intangible categories such as wasted movement, waiting, overprocessing, etc. Six Sigma, on the other hand, was developed by Motorola in the 1980s and focuses its efforts on streamlining processes to eliminate variation and defects. Lean Six Sigma combines these methodologies into a powerful system that places a hyper-focus on two things: the Customer and the Pursuit of Operational Excellence. What is the connection to the skills gap as reported above? I would argue that Lean Six Sigma provides:

  1. Tools to drive common sense improvement, success and collaboration in the organization, whether you are a manufacturer or a healthcare provider or a technology organization.
  2. A framework for better problem-solving, critical/analytical thinking and decision-making. As we all know, the Big Data movement has companies collecting, using, and leveraging data in powerful ways to gain competitive advantage. But even if you have vaults of data, you must have a successful, effective system for utilizing the data. Otherwise, you have a Ferrari in the garage that is never taken out for a spin.
  3. A new way of thinking about your process, your department, your organization and your enterprise. The new eyes and ears that one gains by training in Lean Six Sigma can be transformative.

How do you learn more about Lean Six Sigma? Join us on February 27th at IT-oLogy’s Headquarters in Columbia, SC as we conduct our second Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt certification workshop. This one-day workshop will offer participants a fundamental overview of Lean Six Sigma tools & methodology in a very practical, interactive manner. Our first LSS Yellow Belt certification workshop with IT-oLogy and Innovista Learning was conducted on December 5th and enjoyed the participation of a diverse group of almost 30 professionals from a wide range of companies: BASF, Metso, Black Box, Jarden Applied Materials, South State Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and others. The training and curriculum resonated with the audience, but the best practice and information sharing amongst the professional audience was powerful as well. One attendee’s perspective: “The Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt workshop at IToLogy was a super productive single day learning experience that did an excellent job of instilling a solid baseline into the Lean Six Sigma body of knowledge.  I came away with new insights into project-focused frameworks that I was able to put to work right away. The scope of the workshop was a good fit for giving me new tools that I’m now using for measuring and improving our projects and processes, and that gives us better control of our outcomes. By taking this first step into leveraging the Six Sigma approaches, I feel like we have a higher confidence level that we’ll get better ROI from our efforts by using the concisely defined approaches that everyone on our team can understand. And that’s important for moral and buy-in to continuous improvement efforts. Overall, I was really impressed with the instructor, Peter Sherman, who did an expert job of transferring a wealth of process improvement skills and knowledge to the participants.” – - Mr. Tom Cranmer, Chief Technology Officer, Richland School District Two.

Join us on February 27th at IT-oLogy to experience Lean Six Sigma for yourself. Get more information here: www.riverwoodassociates OR contact Scott W. Luton at 678.296.5268 or scott@riverwoodassociates.com .

summit2015Information technology (IT) is driving innovation and impacting job creation and growth across all sectors of our economy.

IT-oLogy, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the South Carolina Research Authority, and South Carolina Department of Commerce have teamed up for a day-long summit to address issues and opportunities facing South Carolina in the IT arena. Among the topics to be discussed:

•                Is South Carolina competitive on a national and regional level?

•                What incentives and innovations are being implemented here and elsewhere and what best                  practices should we pursue?

•                How does IT impact economic development?

•                How does IT impact workforce development?

•                What are we doing to stay competitive with an educated workforce?

•                What role does public policy play in making us a progressive and more IT/business friendly      state?

When: Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Where: IT-oLogy, 1301 Gervais Street, Columbia, SC

Who should attend:

-IT leaders across all industry verticals, to include CTOs, CIOs, CEOs, IT Directors, IT decision makers of all types in education, state and municipal government, manufacturing, healthcare, professional services, banking, and entrepreneurship (the start-up community).

- Elected officials at all levels

- Economic development officials at all levels

Purpose:

The purpose of this day long event is to inform and educate attendees about what’s currently being done across the state, to gather input from attendees in each industry vertical, and to exchange ideas.  Networking opportunities will be plentiful.  This is a must attend event for IT, education and policy leaders throughout South Carolina.

Among the speakers:

Molly Spearman, State Superintendent of Education

Bill Mahoney, CEO, SCRA

Bobby Hitt, Secretary, South Carolina Department of Commerce

To register: http://2015summitonit.eventbrite.com

For summit updates: www.it-ology.org/summit2015

IT-oLogy is lucky to work with passionate and talented volunteers who dedicate their time to growing and strengthening the their IT community. One of our most dedicated volunteers, Don Thurlow, is on the blog today to discuss his involvement in computer science and his take on the state of IT. Thanks, Don!

1.     How/when did you first get into IT and technology?

My Dad, who attended Worcester Polytechnic for his accounting studies, insisted that I should get a college degree, but with my mediocre grades in high school, that was going to be a challenge.

As we were deliberating on what subjects to take up as a major, all the traditional majors were highlighted in the application form, my Dad sitting across the dining room table from me, reading the yellow application form upside down, pointed to the box marked “Data Processing” and said “Why don’t you check the box next to Data Processing?” As a good son, I replied “I don’t know anything about Computers!!” He replied, “HOW DO YOU KNOW UNLESS YOU TRY!” The rest is history, I began as a computer programmer in 1964 and also as a teacher’s assistant in computer classes.

2.     What about IT appeals to you?

IT, or as I like to state “The Technology of Information,” presents an ever increasing velocity of opportunities for those that choose this career. I found that as the years went by, ever increasing dependence on technology continued to emerge. As an example, in 1983, I had a conversation with several of the folks that I led and due to our, then, observations, we predicted that by the year “2000”, everyone would be on a 4-day work week and computers would be doing so much more work that we could relax! The issue that we failed to recognize is that over time, the velocity of information being generated was at an exponential rate. Nowadays, everything that we do on an hourly basis is generating informational data. One of the most exciting aspects of careers in Information Technology is that once a student investigates and chooses an IT career, they can find a position with most any company on the planet. “What enterprise company in this age does NOT utilize Information Technology in some form?”

3.     What type of professional or personal background do you have in IT or technology?

I have invested 20 years with increasing leadership and experience as Programmer for Enterprise Business Applications, Manager of IBM Operating Systems Technical Support, and Leadership in Data Center Operations and Software Quality Assurance.

I also have 30 years of experience in developing hardware and software Enterprise Solutions for large-scale customers across the USA. I had increasing responsibilities as Senior Systems Engineer, Consulting Systems Engineer, Storage Product Manager and multi-million dollar technical solutions lead Project Manager.

4.     How did you find out about IT-oLogy?

In 2010, the Consortium for Enterprise Systems Management (CESM); a partnership between University of South Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina and International Business Machines (IBM) was established. This became my account due to my employment with IBM. I coordinated the placement of an IBM Enterprise Server along with Enterprise Storage. I assisted others in installing and implementing the back- end storage for use on the 7th Floor of the IT-oLogy suite (as it ultimately became known). As IT-oLogy continued to grow and prosper, I found that I was drawn to the opportunity to speak to K-12, “Promote IT” students across the great state of South Carolina.

5.     In what capacity do you volunteer with IT-oLogy?

I have gone to career fairs at elementary, middle, and high schools. I have volunteered at Cyber Saturdays, have taught Mindstorms Robotics to middle school [students] at Cyber Saturday, and will soon be promoting the Coursepower minor degree at USC, Columbia College, Benedict, and Midlands Tech. I will be presenting at SC Midlands Summit on IT in a few weeks, representing IT-oLogy and will also be a volunteer at the Columbia Mini Maker Faire at EdVenture in mid-June.

6.  What other organizations do you volunteer with?

The only other organization that I am a committed volunteer is Knight of Columbus, a Catholic Fraternal Organization. I’m a 4th Degree Sir Knight and participate in many charitable causes. As example, we collect donations for Operation Hope (Helping Other People Everyday), our South Carolinian’s that are mentally and physically challenged. I also volunteer with church functions such as pancake breakfasts, spaghetti dinners, etc.

7.  Who has been a big influence on you professionally and personally? How so? 

In 1982, I had a conversation with one of the most fascinating individuals I have ever met; Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper, USN Ph.D. She is credited in inventing the COBOL programming language right after 1959 and the first to discover a “bug” in a software program; she examined an insect within the printed pages of a program that she was generating!

Ms. Hopper had coined an expression that has kept me on focus when I “led” people: “You manage things, you lead people.”

Since 1964 I’ve worked for 5 different organizations. During that time I’ve had a variety of bosses, managers, and leaders; take your pick of monikers. Also out of those individuals, I’ve had a total of 3 that I worked beside. The first individual Mr. Ed, was a consummate leader and knew how to lead people, not manage them. He subscribed to Rear Admiral Grace Hopper’s expression about leading people to achieve great results. The next leader that I had was Mr. Bob. He was/is always very opinionated about the lack of results and people that did not tell the truth or attempted to take advantage of other people’s achievements. I found that by including Mr. Bob in all summaries, he was one-of-kind and would work above himself to ensure that when I had a critical situation, I would obtain all the support that I needed to complete the task. He always had my back!

The last and most recent leader that had a big influence on me was Mr. John. He knew that for any business section to be successful, not only did you have to have competent people working in your group, but you had to trust their talents, stand back, and let them take ownership of the tasks that were assigned to them. I had several situations during the time that I was working with Mr. John whereas I felt that the situation warranted Executive Action to resolve and make the client satisfaction be made whole. Mr. John went to the Executives and successfully lobbied for the support that I was requesting. The client became one of our most dedicated customers with good reference capabilities.

Thanks to Don for answering our questions! If you’d like to learn more about Don’s experience in the IT world click here. Learn about how you can join our IT-oLogy volunteers here.

The following blog post was written by IT-oLogy President, Lonnie Emard.

Lonnies-mugshotThanksgiving has passed and we thank all of our partners for their belief, support, engagement and financial contribution. With the holidays upon us, we want to wish everyone a joyous and happy season. It is the time of year for reflection upon the last year and note the accomplishments of many who have advanced the mission of IT-oLogy – to grow the quantity and quality of the information technology talent in this country. It is also the time to expand the plans in place for scaling a working model across the country.

With Promote IT programs such as Cyber Saturday held in multiple cities and even smaller rural communities across five states, we believe we can more than triple the 100,000 plus students that we have influenced, trained and, in many cases, guided to pursuing careers in the IT professional discipline. The impact of Promote IT programs is only a small part of the K-12 success story. IT-oLogy partners, as part of an NSF grant called ESEP, worked closely with state and local education in 2014 to finally introduce a four course sequence for Computer Science in multiple districts across Georgia, Maine, California and South Carolina.

IT-oLogy CSEdWeekThese K-12 efforts, along with those of many other partner organizations like code.org, NCWIT and Connected Nation, are producing results toward goals that IT-oLogy set forth in the very beginning. Working with our academic higher education partners, the goal was to increase the enrollment in computing and IT related fields. Generally, across more than 150 partners, the enrollment has increased 30% with some schools leading the way. The Integrated Information Technology major at the University of South Carolina, Computer Science at West Texas A&M and Robert Morris in Pittsburgh have seen 50% increases.

605fafb7-ace2-4476-81ee-55cd5b08e24bIf you follow the supply chain concept as students move through the pipeline, a key connector is how business partners post their internships and full time entry level positions to the far reaching audience of students at these partner universities. The IT Gateway is the IT-oLogy product they use to post their resumes and portfolios so this tool provides reach and access for students and employers alike. The numbers of students and job postings have continued to grow by nearly 400% over the last year.

Another Teach IT program implemented in 2014 was Coursepower, the branded program for schools that introduced the Applied Computing minor or certificate program to all students, no matter what their major may be. This phenomenal program was implemented simultaneously across four schools in Columbia, SC. The University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Benedict College and Midlands Technical College have seen more than 1,200 students add this minor in just the first year. The South Carolina Legislature saw the value of this program to workforce and economic development and has provided a public match to go with the private industry funding to expand this program across the state of South Carolina.

32265002-8b79-497d-b5a3-bb5d59961b05With the Grow IT initiative, the IT-oLogy supply chain model continued to positively affect our business partners with state of the art, ongoing professional development and engaged networking events to further the economic conditions of cities and states based on the underlying premise that IT and software are reinventing business. IT-oLogy events, Connections and Trends, brought hundreds together to learn and discuss key topics. The Trends conference, featuring Gartner analysts, has completed its fourth year and has featured topics such as 2011 IT Modernization, 2012 Big Data, 2013 Predictive Analytics and 2014 the Internet of Things. All are leading edge topics of their time. The 2014 Trends conference was live streamed from headquarters in Columbia to six locations around the country.

A couple of new highlights in 2014 were the introduction of the first State of IT Summit for South Carolina where IT-oLogy teamed up with the South Carolina Department of Commerce and the South Carolina Chamber to deliver a very impactful look at how widespread IT capabilities are driving economic growth in various areas of the state and in various industry verticals. The second was the expansion of the open source conferences that IT-oLogy has delivered for the last five years. POSSCON in Columbia became All Things Open in Raleigh and Great Wide Open in Atlanta. More than 2,500 attendees participated in the three events and the value continues to rise in the relationships that are being forged because of IT-oLogy.

So let’s look forward to 2015. I personally invite you to become more involved and find a way to help IT-oLogy help you as a professional, your company as a partner, your family as parents of our future workforce or just as a concerned citizen. We want to provide you with several key program products to look for in early in 2015:

  • You’ve heard of Cyber Saturday, but check out how you can be a part of PRISM.
  • You’ve heard of our alliance with Connect SC and Connected Nation, so look for a focus towards innovation called FUSION.
  • POSSCON will be back in Columbia, teaming up with Converge SE and Indie Grits for quite a festival.
  • The State of IT Summit will return in South Carolina and now North Carolina is considering a similar summit.
  • IT-oLogy Charlotte is bringing back the long awaited Blue Diamond Awards that have not been held since 2008.
  • Apprenticeships will be a key focus area and several grant opportunities will be available for IT-oLogy partners.
  • Finally, as partners, think about how you can support your local community with IT-oLogy and the impact we can make TOGETHER.

Thanks, and most of all, have a wonderful and joyous holiday season.

Sincerely,

Lonnie Emard
IT-oLogy President