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Journal of Information Systems Education

Article Title

Invited Paper: Building a K-16-Industry Partnership to Train IT Professionals

Abstract

Building on the importance of experiential learning for early career success, this paper presents a blueprint for a multiple-tier co- op approach, where students as early as high school will be selected by employers, will learn skills relevant to the employer’s needs, and will get hands-on experience while enrolled in a relevant educational program. This program is currently being developed by a partnership of industry professionals, university faculty, and local school district faculty and administrators in Anchorage, Alaska. After identifying a need for more and better qualified candidates for many unfilled IT positions, a consortium of hiring authorities in Anchorage initiated discussions with educators to better align curriculum with employers’ needs and to establish a pipeline in the education system for better recruiting, growing, and retaining technology talent. Two high school courses have been developed as a result of this collaboration and are being offered with direct assistance and involvement from the business community. In the courses, students are evaluated against a series of 13 micro-credentials relevant for IT professionals. An articulated pathway into university degrees and an extension of the pipeline into middle school are under development.

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