A partnership between Lakeland Community College and area high schools aimed to “cultivate, diversify and grow talent” in information technology and computer science is offering several courses in the “IT&CS College Ready Now” program.
The new program can double as high school and college credit, all at no extra cost, Lakeland officials noted.
Students will have the opportunity to begin taking college-level courses as early as their freshman year of high school, and by continuing the program through senior year, will have completed one full year’s worth of college credits.
According to Lakeland, an accelerated track is available for students to begin in their junior year.
Additionally, completed courses will prepare students to earn industry certifications in CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) and Oracle, earning standardized credentials proving skills and commitment to continued learning.
IT&CS College Ready Now is also partnering with regional employers to offer experiential learning opportunities in the industry. Program partners include Lubrizol Corp., Lake Health — now a part of University Hospitals — MCPc, Monreal IT Consulting and Steris.
Demand for jobs in IT and computer science is projected to continue growing through 2030 with median salaries ranging from $55,000 to $126,000 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The courses in this program span a variety of foundational IT skills, including programming, cybersecurity, networking and databases,” says Sue Baker, program department chair and professor at Lakeland. “This allows students to select from a variety of IT&CS programs upon graduation from high school to continue to prepare for high-demand careers.”
Upon completion of the entire IT&CS College Ready Now program, students will graduate high school with Lakeland’s IT Specialist certificate, and all courses transfer to Lakeland and other Ohio public institutions.
The students will be able to earn an associate degree from Lakeland with only one additional year of classes and will “provide a direct path” into bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in IT&CS at a variety of other Ohio four-year schools.