National Information Technology Innovation Center (NITIC)

The Information Technology (IT) industry is continuing to experience shortages of skilled workers, and COVID-19 has further exacerbated the sense of urgency and need for an IT skilled technical workforce. According to CompTIA's 2022 Workforce and Learning Trends report, U.S. tech employment will grow an estimated 12.4 million net jobs in 2022 alone. Over the next ten years, technology occupations are expected to grow at twice the rate of overall employment. Yet the high demand for skilled workers is confounded by workers leaving the field. According to Microsoft's 2021 Work Trends Index, more than 40% of employees were considering a job change, and 46% planned to make a significant career move or transition. While traditional areas of technology are experiencing an increasing demand, there are also emerging job clusters. These include, but are not limited to, the following fields: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), IT Automation, Quantum Computing, DevOps, FinTech, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Encryption Technologies, IoT/Edge Computing, 5G, and Blockchain Technology. Nationally, there are diversity gaps in the IT industry. Underserved and disadvantaged students are not well represented in pathways for careers in IT which often discourages these individuals from pursuing these career pathways. This project will bring together an experienced consortium of community colleges leaders in information technology collaborating with industry partners to create the National Information Technology Innovation Center (NITIC).

The Center will create a future-focused community of practice with diverse perspectives and geographic distribution. NITIC will focus on emerging technologies while strengthening and promoting proven best practices from prior ATE IT centers. NITIC will create new deliverables that develop high-quality educational materials, curricula, pedagogy, and teaching resources while consolidating access for existing materials across broad areas of information technology. The center will leverage a mix of experienced and emerging community college partners to serve as leaders within their technology clusters to expand collaboration and develop future leadership for the ATE community. The Center will produce, implement, assess impact, and broadly share the following: 1) Innovation clearinghouse to encourage new emerging IT curriculum and materials driven by a Business & Industry Leadership Team (BILT) Model for high employer engagement; 2) A Community of Practice: IT Innovation Network (ITIN) to promote sharing and problem-solving; 3) Faculty Professional Development Model / Working Connections Virtual and In-Person Workshops to address continuing learning needs for faculty as technologies emerge; and 4) Dedicated models for increasing diversity and underserved population representation in IT, including veterans, women, and underserved student populations in STEM.

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