15 Dec Gateway Technical College pilots IBM training program
Kenosha, Wis. — Gateway Technical College has almost finished teaching its first class of students in the IBM Advanced Career Education Program, and already it has gained recognition and the opportunity to lead other colleges in adopting its ideas.
The college receieved a grant on Tuesday of $495,000 from the U.S. Department of Labor, aided in part by the success of its partnership program. The funds are earmarked for an initiative to distribute Web-based education for the biopharmeceutical industry in collaboration with Abbott Labs.
The ACE program curriculum has been functioning on the Kenosha campus’s BioCATT training center for almost a year now and is split up into four modules, focusing on IT foundations, introduction to programming, programming applications, and e-business applications. The full program, for technology professionals at all experience levels, consists of around 700 hours.
Since IBM is the principal player in the ACE curriculum, it supplies certified instructors, IBM-developed and -owned courseware, and teaches its own technologies, such as IBM WebSphere and DB2, as well as others such as Java and XML.
While the system has been implemented overseas, Gateway’s use of the program in Kenosha marks the first use of the system in North America, a fact that the college staff considers a badge of honor.
“We are very proud that Gateway Technical College was able to secure the first program of its kind in North America,” said Bryan Albrecht, vice president of advanced technology centers for Gateway Technical College. “The recognition of a strong partnership with a world-leading organization like IBM has raised our vision and expectations as the programs and services we provide.”
To help students that want to continue with their work, Gateway allows them to take the classes as part of the school’s Individual technical-studies program. They can complete an associate’s degree at the school, or continue their studies at UW-Parkside and UW-Stout through agreements that allow students to work towards a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
The first group of students is schedule to graduate from the program in February. Gateway’s business development manager, Mark Nickolaou, said every student has either a corporate job lined up or enough of a base to find one. The college has also been able to expand and allow high-school students to take the class with state funds.
“The goal is to develop a career pathway that allows individuals to progress in the chosen career and build upon the educational experiences of each education system,” Albrecht said.
IBM has authorized Gateway to support several colleges in North America in identifying ACE implementation strategies, and the staff has been working closely with IBM corporate education and government liasons to do so.
“IBM’s interest is to establish a pathway through education providers like the two year community and technical colleges,” Albrecht said, “and has authorized Gateway to take the lead … to advance e-business training programs.”