LOUISVILLE — Eastern Kentucky schools will get $2 million-plus in computers for students in Registered Apprenticeships in information technology thanks to grants Louisville-based Dataseam obtained from the U.S. Department of Labor and the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Participating schools will receive Apple iMac workstations to address advanced curriculum needs. Apprentice candidates receive MacBook Pro laptops to engage in coursework and to support the enterprise-level demands of the K-12 technology environment. Upon completion of the Registered Apprenticeship program, the Journeyworker graduates will retain the laptops to take into the workforce or to complete further information technology training at the university level.
The computers bring advanced curriculum opportunities for schools but also comprise an important part of a statewide computing grid built and maintained by Louisville-based Dataseam.
The DataseamGrid, unique to Kentucky, was developed to service the structure-based drug design demands of the University of Louisville Brown Cancer Center and provided 24 x 7 access for as much as 80% of the overall computing capacity to create safer and more effective cancer therapeutics at a fraction of the time and cost. Initially funded by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2005, it is vital to saving lives and creating economic opportunities for the commonwealth. With the DataseamGrid, Kentucky is more competitive for federal funding with over $65 million earned to date creating a $162.5 million economic impact for Kentucky.
The USDOL Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities (WORC) grant and the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) Initiative award from the ARC support Registered Apprenticeships in information technology for participating high school juniors and seniors.
It is a two-year program providing coursework, on-job training, and mentorship as part of paid employment in the pursuit of a DOL Journeyworker certification like other skilled trades. Graduates will leave the program with the requisite skills and two years of practical experience which will help to address vital IT sector demands in education, banking, healthcare, and state and local government. These opportunities reflect the availability of meaningful, family-sustaining employment without the associated costs of a two- or four-year degree.
“This agreement with the USDOL makes the second federal contract we have earned and directly executed to carry out Registered Apprenticeship in partnership with our participating schools,” said Dataseam CEO Brian Gupton. “These awards signify further validation of the Dataseam model for education and workforce development in Kentucky.”
“Kentucky schools still need instructional devices with the ability to do academic heavy lifting like pre-engineering and the media arts,” said Superintendent Tim Melton, Williamsburg Independent Schools. “Our participation in the variety of workforce initiatives Dataseam provides allows us to upskill our Eastern Kentucky workforce and bring related technology we need with local investments at a fraction of the cost.”
Williamsburg Chief Information Officer Parker Smith said, “School technology professionals across Eastern Kentucky serve as apprentice mentors. In addition to the employment districts provide, student apprentices participate in industry-standard certification that has allowed many of us, including myself, to advance in our careers. The investments districts make in the Registered Apprenticeship as employer-partners are far less than the state-mandated match required of us to receive technology funding. Leveraging opportunities allows schools like ours to receive far more technology while training the IT workforce of the future for Appalachia.”
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