Information Technology Pathways in Indiana
In 2014, the US Department of Labor awarded a $2.5 million Round 4 Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant to Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana) to reform its information technology programs. The reforms in this TAACCCT grant build on a set of on-going reforms at Ivy Tech, including a redesign to offer eight new degree programs based on employer needs and the concepts of guided student pathways. These programs are intended to provide a structured sequence of courses with a clear pathway to employment and/or further education. The new programs were first offered in 2014 and serve the entire state of Indiana. The grant is supporting the continued development of these programs through several activities that build on the guided student pathways model and promote greater alignment with workforce needs. Specifically the grant includes the following activities:
- Promotion of hands-on learning through the purchase of equipment for dedicated IT labs at 18 of the college’s 32 campuses; the purchase of equipment for 13 data centers at high demand campuses for Network Infrastructure or Server Administration programs; increased capacity of the Virtual Data Center; and enhanced faculty professional development to deliver the new IT programs.
- Continued development of IT pathways through updated prior learning assessments.
- Enhanced student advising through the development of an online career advising tool.
- Expanded employer engagement through advisory boards with employers and workforce boards to promote involvement in curriculum reviews, assessments of student performance, provision of internship and capstone projects, and job placement.
- Greater collaborations with workforce partners.
Rutgers Education and Employment Research Center (EERC) is participating as the third-party evaluator throughout the duration of the grant. The evaluation utilizes a mixed methods approach to gather data from multiple perspectives on grant implementation and outcomes, including site visits and surveys of students, faculty, employers and workforce partners. It also includes a quasi-experimental analysis of student completion and employment outcomes. The evaluation examines the college’s implementation activities, focusing on key issues related to curriculum, program design, and administration, student assessment, and partnerships. Further, the evaluation includes an in-depth examination the distinct approaches in the grant including hands-on learning, employer engagement, student advising, student recruitment, and the impact of pathways development.