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North Ridgeville, Elyria, Midview schools join IT pilot program

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ELYRIA — North Ridgeville, Elyria and Midview schools are embracing science, technology, engineering and mathematics pathways differently, but the three districts will jointly participate in a new Lorain County Community College pilot program geared toward exposing high school students to careers in information technology.

Funded by a $150,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the two-year program announced Monday — Building IT Futures — provides opportunities to work with local technology companies while learning new skills and earning college credit.

“The goal is to improve the likelihood that students will find employment in the IT field after high school and completion of an associate degree,” said Kelly Zelesnik, LCCC’s dean of engineering, business and information technologies. “This pilot program will expose students to opportunities available in the IT field locally in conjunction with their coursework through College Credit Plus.”

Seniors taking College Credit Plus courses along the IT pathway will be the first accepted into the program that will take up to 30 students a year but, if space is available, 11th-graders also can apply.

The program was one of several Elyria Superintendent Tom Jama highlighted last month during his State of the Schools address at Wesleyan Village although the funding mechanism and details were not in place at the time.

Associate Superintendent Ann Schloss said such programs reinforce what students already are interested in as hobbies, and “the courses just build on that,” she said.

LCCC, partner high schools and the Regional Information Technology Engagement board will work with employer partners Hyland Software, OEConnections and University Hospitals to focus the pilot program on junior- or entry-level software developer or application developer positions. The three companies have committed facilities, equipment and staff time to support the pilot program.

“Hyland is excited to partner with Lorain County Community College and area high schools on the Building IT Futures project. Programs like this help us fulfill our commitment to cultivate a local-area technology community and shape the region’s workforce,” said Dennis Sasinka, senior manager of tech outreach at Hyland. “It is a great opportunity for students to learn valuable skills and be exposed to the kinds of opportunities available at companies like Hyland.”

Midview also has Project Lead the Way, the district’s hands-on STEM curriculum

“This project distinctly aligns with key STEM initiatives already underway in the Midview Schools that are focused on development of student skills and building the local STEM talent pipeline with job-ready graduates,” said Midview Superintendent Bruce Willingham.

LCCC, collaborating with high school and employer partners, will select from three courses — database design and implementation, intro to programming C#, and web development — with the goal of delivering the courses at high school sites and employer locations, working with LCCC faculty.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

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