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Connecticut Institutions Closing the Tech Skills Gap with Talent Accelerator Initiative

Seven higher education institutions in Connecticut are participating in a new initiative called the Tech Talent Accelerator, which aims to boost high-demand tech skills by fostering business-higher education partnerships in areas such as cybersecurity, virtual modeling, software development and digital analytics. The University of Saint Joseph, Quinnipiac University, University of Bridgeport, Mitchell College, University of Hartford, University of New Haven and Connecticut State Colleges & Universities system will receive a combined $180,000 in grants from the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) and the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF), supported by funding from the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development's Technology Talent Fund.

The goal of the Tech Talent Accelerator is to help each institution do the following:

  • Develop short-term certificate programs to prepare students for entry-level, technology-enabled jobs;
  • Embed industry-recognized credentials (such as those offered by Google and IBM) into curricula and degree programs;
  • Incorporate industry-aligned and regionally relevant tech knowledge, skills and competencies into curricula and credential pathways;
  • Provide pathways to high-value, in-demand technology skills and credentials to help Connecticut residents secure jobs in the region; and
  • Incorporate digital skills and industry-recognized credentials into liberal arts curricula and provide work-based learning to increase students' employability.

At the University of Saint Joseph, for example, a $30,000 Tech Talent Accelerator grant is funding the development of a degree concentration in data analytics, tailored to the needs of employers in the Greater Hartford region.

"This grant comes at a critical juncture when USJ is seeking to build stronger collaboration with business partners and grow several new programs, including Computer and Data Science, Digital Media and Communication, and Sport Management," said USJ Professor of Computer Science & Mathematics Hong Zhou, in a statement. "The grant will enable us to embed Google Data Analytics into our Data Science and Business and Management courses and align our curriculum with Connecticut business technology needs."

"By investing directly in faculty-industry relationships, NEBHE and BHEF will accelerate capacity-building, unlock existing innovations inside the Connecticut higher education system and set a path for sustainability that will benefit the entire higher education system, Connecticut employers and learners," said BHEF CEO Brian Fitzgerald.

For more information, visit the NEBHE site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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