Butler Community College will be establishing an Information Technology (IT) Institute at Butler of Andover with the $2.7 million in federal grant money they received from the U.S. Department of Labor on Sept. 18.
This project demonstrates an innovative, skills-based approach to building programs based on industry needs and utilizing technology to provide better access to employment opportunities for participants across the state. Butler is the only higher education institution in the state of Kansas to receive the grant.
Butler’s goal in creating institutes is to concentrate resources on areas of workforce training demonstrably critical and relevant to the needs of the regional economy.
Butler will be the premier IT training provider in the region.
“This award will allow Butler to provide both credit and non-credit, competency-based training opportunities,” President Dr. Kimberly Krull said. “Butler will offer innovative learning approaches to meet the needs of the changing marketplace, prepare students with broad based skills to strengthen the workforce, and support the region’s economy while focusing on student success.”
The creation of academic clusters will reorganize and integrate Butler’s current Career and Technical Education programs so they can operate more efficiently. In each cluster students will complete a set of common foundation courses before moving on through a series of specialty tracks that lead to a range of related occupations.
“This positions Butler in a situation that will have an immediate impact on the region,” Dean of Career and Technical Education Dr. Roberto Rodriguez said. “We can localize it.”
Butler Community College has worked with employers in Kansas to assess their needs, and their TAACCCT proposal will improve their alignment with Kansas employers by meeting the needs of Wichita regional employers. Creation and implementation of the grant will involve multiple partnerships, in particular High Touch Technologies and the Kansas Workforce Alliance. This project will provide IT training and skill development that leads to employment in a variety of industries including Aircraft Manufacturing; Corporate, Subsidiary, and Regional Managing Offices; Aircraft Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing; Custom Computer Programming Services; and Computer Systems Design Services.
“We’re moving away from a focus on curriculum and courses and programs to knowledge and skills that are competency-based,” Associate Vice President of Institutional Research and Effectiveness Dr. Gene George said. “We’ve recognized the critical knowledge for employment in IT and then we will build the curriculum accordingly. It’s innovative because it provides a clear map of the core competencies needed.”
The U.S. Department of Labor awarded 57 grants that will support 190 projects in at least 183 schools in every state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The grants will expand programs in growing industries, such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, and encourage geographic and industry sector collaboration through the development of both statewide and multistate college consortia.
Page 2 of 2 - The U.S. Department of Labor is implementing and administering the program in coordination with the U.S. Department of Education.
All course materials developed using these public funds will be available through the Open Educational Resources initiative so that others can access and build on successful training models.
The U.S. Department of Commerce is also encouraging employers to collaborate with local colleges eligible for funding through this program.