Bossier Parish Community College was able to look across the street and see the potential in the cyber/technology industry moving in, causing them to form vital partnerships that are translating into students being placed in lucrative careers.
“You’re filling new jobs,” said Paul Spivey, Assistant Dean – Division of Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at BPCC. “Our students have opportunities to stay here and earn high wages in a growth field, building a new industry not dependent on market fluctuations.”
BPCC and the next generation tech company CSRA have partnered with the State of Louisiana to create 800 professional technology careers by 2018.
“BPCC has already met its year seven target metric for employment in just the first three years of its cooperative endeavor agreement with Louisiana Economic Development,” Spivey added.
CSRA’s state-of-the-art Integrated Technology Center (ITC) in the National Cyber Research Park is located directly next to BPCC. That proximity has bred cooperation and that has trickled down to BPCC’s programs and students.
Enrollment in BPCC’s IT programs has increased 10 percent from last fall to this fall. The growth, according to Spivey, can be attributed to the collaboration with industry partners, faculty, and team members that work together to create a meaningful and relevant learning experience.
“Our industry partners provide constant feedback on curricular changes, giving our students a distinct advantage so that they can hit the ground running when they begin their IT career.”
That engagement leads to connectivity and responsiveness, such as the development of the new AAS in Systems Administration with concentrations in DevOps and also in Enterprise Information Technology and Development.
“This degree is one of a few in the nation and was created at the request of CSRA hiring managers. From initial conception to being offered this past fall, development was completed in only three months,” exclaimed Spivey. “That’s lightning fast in academia and exemplifies what it means to meet industry needs.”
Spivey said he feels a sense of pride when he visits CSRA and sees former students and alumni walk by. But he noted that there are many other opportunities beyond CSRA, whether it’s a hospital, bank, or the school system. And communication in those relationships will be what pushes the college forward.
“We are always evolving and we work closely with our industry partners,” Spivey said, “and as those jobs evolve, our curriculum will evolve. As a two-year institution, we can move a lot more quickly.”