College Positioned for Computer Science Legislation

The Tippie Business Education Center at Nielsen Hall

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (May 30, 2017)-Kirkwood Community College is ahead of the curve training area educators and students about information technology (IT). Recent changes in Iowa’s legislation on computer science education integration for grades K-12 will increase the need for training among teachers.

On April 28, 2017, Governor Terry Branstad signed Senate File 274 into law requiring instruction in high-quality computer science for elementary, middle school and high school students to establish a foundation for personal and professional success in a high-technology, knowledge-based Iowa economy. The bill also established a computer science professional development incentive fund.

Training obtained through Kirkwood is a seamless way for educators to earn credit toward their licensure. Professional development training for instructors, who teach high school students through the college’s concurrent enrollment program, has been offered for more than 15 years. Each year well over 100 area educators participate in this training, which aligns with standards associated with the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships. In 2002, IT certification courses were introduced. Each year more than 30 teachers take advantage of IT specific professional development. Their training focuses on courses like computer software mastery, graphic design, website development and coding.

“The vast IT programs we offer make us a logical resource for area educators, not to mention anyone wanting to work in IT,” said Kirkwood Dean of Business and Information Technology Colette Atkins. “We are positioned well for the new legislation and look forward to an influx of IT students in the future.”

Kirkwood actively partners with the IT sector to overcome the industry’s workforce challenges. In an effort to build the talent pipeline for IT careers with worker shortages, the college has developed short-term training, one-year diplomas and two-year degree programs based on the needs of area employers. Computer Software Development was in the top five enrolled programs during Kirkwood’s 2015-2016 academic year.

As one of the top community colleges in the country for personal and professional enrichment classes, Kirkwood offers more than 150 IT related online and offline courses. Additionally, the college in recent years has increased the number of computer science summer camps for children, ages 8 – 15.

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