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HCC one of 114 schools to offer high-tech certification programs

Hinds Community College RCU opens I-TECH center

RAYMOND — The nation’s first and largest college and community-based information technology educational services network, I-TECH, has partnered with the Hinds Community College Resource and Coordinating Unit for Economic Development (RCU) to provide short-term training for certification in various high-tech areas.

A grand opening of the new I-TECH Advanced Skills Training center was held Aug. 20 at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center (ERCC) in Raymond, and Karen Robbins, marketing coordinator at HCC, is excited about the new center.

“One-hundred fourteen schools have partnered with I-TECH and by the end of October, they will have partnered with 140,” Robbins said.

Bill Flanagan, training specialist with the resource and coordinating unit of HCC, said I-TECH will offer high-end courses geared toward certification in a fast-track program. The first course offerings will begin Sept. 17 and will be in CompTIA A+ and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MSCE) Windows 2000. They are designed to give the information and hands-on experience necessary to pass the certification examinations.

Courses are being held in the evening and on weekends so potential students can continue to be a part of today’s workforce while they upgrade their IT (information technology) skills.

“The IT market is really suffering more on the Web-based end than on the network end,” Flanagan said. “Every company that has computers has a network. A+ trains you to prepare those computers and MCSE provides the training necessary to work as a network administrator. The MCSE gives you the background so you can troubleshoot and set up a network.”

Flanagan said the nice thing about the network market is it is not as volatile as the Internet one. I-TECH originally approached HCC about putting a center there; initial conversations about providing an I-TECH center began about six months ago. The center is located in the ERCC and is essentially a training room. Flanagan said it would continue to grow as word gets out and training is requested. There is a list of training certifications HCC can add to the courses they are starting with.

“We expect a steady market for our current offerings and we anticipate the market to grow,” Flanagan said. “We’ll listen to our customers as any business would in telling us what their needs are.”

In HCC’s partnership with I-TECH, they use only official and approved vendor curriculum from Microsoft, Novell, Oracle and others.

In addition to gaining hands-on experience in the classroom at the ERCC, an innovative learning portal also provides support services outside of the classroom environment. This means students will have a wealth of resources available to them simply by going online.

“This is just another way Hinds is making advanced skills training available to local business and industry,” Flanagan said.

Dr. Clyde Muse, president of HCC, said, “The partnership between I-TECH and Hinds Community College demonstrates our commitment to providing our regional workforce with cutting edge, high level, advanced skills training in the field of computer technology.”

Dr. John J. Woods, director of training, also commented on the new I-TECH center.

“Being able to offer Microsoft Certification courses as well as other high level, advanced skills training in the computer technology arena continues to position Hinds Community College as a leader in providing training services in leading edge technologies,” Woods said.

Robbins believes that HCC offering I-TECH is just one more way the community college can meet the needs of the local business community to enhance opportunities for business and industry.

Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at ekirkland@msbusiness.com or (601) 364-1042.

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