Sept. 1, 1999
Part of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge's economic development plan is to mold Central Pennsylvania into an attractive location for growing, high-technology companies. One of the essential components of realizing that goal is to establish a reservoir of highly trained information technology specialists from which those companies can hire the skilled information technology employees they need. Skilled computer technicians, in particular, are among some of the most highly demanded professionals in the information technology industry. More and more, companies are requiring their employees to be certified, making the availability of quality training a must for attracting hi-tech companies. Harrisburg Area Community College is helping to meet that demand.

HACC has entered into a new partnership with I/Tech Services, a Microsoft-Certified Technical Education Center in Frederick, MD. I/Tech Services is a 30-year-old, highly respected company specializing in providing students with high-quality training provided by its team of more than 1,000 of the nation's top, certified instructors.

"In fact, Central PA is one of the fastest growing Information Technology area in the country. As large and small organizations become increasingly dependent upon vendor information technology products to run their businesses, the need for skilled workers who understand how to manage, maintain and use these products, is becoming increasingly important," says Andy Ruziska, CFO of I/Tech Services, Inc.

I/Tech, as a Microsoft Certified Technical Center, will bring its high-quality programs and instructors to all four HACC locations. The program will teach students the state-of-the-art skills needed to be successful in high technology fields.

"It's a known fact that across the Commonwealth there is a shortage of trained IT professionals. We will be able to help bridge that gap between employers needs and the available employees. Through this partnership, HACC is able to provide the most current, hi-tech, state-of-the-art training available in IT," says Nancy Rockey, HACC's Dean of Workforce and Economic Development.

Initially, the HACC-I/Tech program is offering Computer Technician (or A+) and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) training at all four HACC locations. Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS) training will be offered at HACC's Wildwood and Lancaster campuses. In addition, vendor courses from Cisco, Novell, Oracle, additional Microsoft applications and others are available on a contract basis.

By partnering with I/Tech Services, HACC can offer programs to the Central Pennsylvania area that may not otherwise have possible because of limited technical and/or other resources that are needed to run these programs.

"We're able to bring these programs to Central PA in a more cost-effective manner for both HACC and their students," Ruziska says.

According to both Rockey and Ruziska, it's critical that area workers are trained and certified in vendor products. Companies, they say, are looking for employees who have proven their high level skills through vendor testing. "It puts them in a higher category of employee. In addition to the traditional training, our students can now be certified through vendor testing...which gives them a big advantage in an employment situation. Not only can they show what course work they have completed, but they will also have the certification to show the high level at which they are prepared," Rockey says.

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