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Gateway Developing Covington-Based Technology Center To Train Knowledge Workers for High-Tech Jobs $4.9 Million DOL Grant Provides Funding

Gateway Community & Technical College will use a $4.9 million, four-year Department of Labor grant to develop a Covington-based technology center that will prepare students for emerging, high-skilled, knowledge-based jobs in increasing demand by corporations and education.

Under provisions of the Innovative Pathways in Technology and eLearning Careers grant, Gateway will partner with TiER 1 Performance Solutions to create an Instructional Design and Learning Technologies program that will prepare people for high-paying jobs requiring a blend of skills in computer science, graphic design, instructional technology and new media. The Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board/One Stop Career Center will serve as a partner in the project.

The grant will kick-start a technology center and associated instruction in downtown Covington and help us create new, cutting-edge career options for talented students, said Ed Hughes, Gateway president/CEO. What we are really doing is preparing students for the emerging high-tech jobs of an information-based economy.

This far reaching and impactful project has an opportunity to reshape the workforce of the future in our region, said Kevin Moore, TiER1s chief learning officer. The vision is to establish programs that are needed today and tomorrow. This focus is not just on our region but we expect learners to join this program from many geographic locations.

The grant includes funds to lease a facility to house the center and create a one-stop location for the multidisciplinary program. A specific location has not yet been identified.

This endeavor is a model of public-private partnerships to support innovation in the Northern Kentucky region, Hughes said. Not only does it involve one of the regions leading edge companies, but also the end result will be a larger pool of highly skilled applicants to fill a growing number of high-tech jobs in the region.

Hughes added the center represents one of the initial steps in the development of Gateway's proposed Urban Campus. The initiative fits into our plans to turn the Urban Campus into a focal point of innovation and creativity around student-led enterprises and close partnerships with area businesses, he said.

Patricia A. Goodman, Gateway vice president of knowledge management and strategic initiatives, said the program is being developed with extensive input and direction from industry experts in the Northern Kentucky Greater Cincinnati region. The programs curriculum will rely heavily on eLearning systems to deliver course content, she explained. Students will become proficient in computer-based training software, network conferencing software, video creation and editing programs, and software used in web platform development.

Goodman said graduates will be prepared to work as instructional designers, corporate training and development specialists, multimedia artists and animators, and distance learning coordinators. Median annual earnings for such jobs in Kentucky range from $45,100 to $75,700 depending on the specialty.

Hughes added the initiative not only will increase the regions base of knowledge workers but also will provide transfer opportunities for students who may want to pursue a four-year degree, for example at Northern Kentucky Universitys College of Informatics.

The program will begin accepting students in the next academic year and is open to residents of the region served by the Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board. The college is creating nine new positions, including administrative jobs and faculty, to implement the project.

The grant also will enable Gateway to improve online or eLearning delivery of course/program content; develop comprehensive support services for students from enrollment through employment and transfer; and create a comprehensive student bridge program for students who may have developmental needs.

The grant was awarded under DOLs H-1B Technical Skills Training Grant Competition designed to raise technical skill levels of American workers and help businesses reduce the need to hire foreign workers to fill jobs in high-growth fields, according to Amber Decker, Gateway director of grants and contracts.

The project is aimed at unemployed and underemployed workers that may have low academic or basic skill levels, low-income levels and a need for support services, Decker said. To ensure that participants are ready for H-1B level education and training, the target population will include people with prior technology experience and/or a demonstrated proficiency in information technology.