Charles Lafayette

Charles Lafayette

Under the leadership of staff members Charles Lafayette and Rachel Finer Levy, WCC now offers accelerated certificate programs in information technology (IT) designed to train students for jobs in the high demand IT industry.

The programs are funded by a $2.9 million U.S. Department of Labor Grant, called Intentionally Growing New Information Technology Employees in Michigan (IGNITE) which was awarded to the college in October 2012. The program offers certificates comprised of traditional classroom studies blended with online (distance) learning.

Lafayette serves as the IGNITE grant program manager and Levy is the IGNITE grant internship coordinator.

As part of the IGNITE program, students will learn the latest in industry standards for Java Programming and Linux/Unix systems administration.

The programs will prepare and qualify WCC students for the following jobs:

  • Computer Programmers
  • System Software Developer
  • System Administrator
  • Network Administrator
  • Network Specialist

According to a 2013 report from the Workforce Intelligence Network, the most significant job growth in Southeast Michigan is in information technology. The report notes that over 3,000 jobs were posted for software developers alone in the second quarter of 2013.

“We are currently talking with interested area companies to provide internship opportunities for our students,” said Levy. “Both WCC students and IT employers benefit from an internship arrangement since the college provides excellent training and instruction to our IT students, enabling them to make productive contributions soon after being hired.”

The programs are multi-tiered – allowing students to enter at levels commensurate with their existing information technology knowledge base.
The curriculum is designed to meet current IT industry standards and certifications.

An IT Career Readiness program is also available for students with little or no IT experience and starts May 5.

“We are very excited about this training program,” said Lafayette, “The IT Career Readiness program will help us better understand a student’s current knowledge level so we can customize a program that will teach the additional skills he or she may need for a career in information technology.”

The IT Career Readiness program explores a variety of in-demand IT jobs, and the technical skills required by employers. According to Lafayette, students will complete an assessment of their entry level skills to discover what additional training they will need to be successful in their chosen field.

Additional components of the overall grant program include dedicated advising and tutoring services. The program also examines day-to-day work life responsibilities, and touches on interpersonal and team attributes that have become highly valued in the information technology industry.

“The goal of the IGNITE grant is to provide training to those who are unemployed, underemployed, or are military veterans, though classes are open to anyone interested,” said Brandon Tucker, WCC executive director of Economic & Community Development. “We were honored to receive this grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. We look forward to seeing our students successfully placed in IT jobs and to soar professionally in this high-demand and continually evolving field.”