dot-com bust of the late 1990’s resulted in a convergence of
the Telecommunications Industries and the Information
Technologies Industries creating the Information and
Communications Industries (ICT). The ICT industry is complex and
is characterized by a few large corporations and many smaller
companies. The industry can differ regionally depending on
the legacy technology employed by the local
industry. Complicating matters further, over the last four
years, ICT has evolved and has infused in all disciplines and
impacts almost every industry, including computers,
semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, defense and homeland security,
healthcare, communications, transportation, energy, environmental
sciences, entertainment, chemicals, and manufacturing. These
changes and the emerging technologies that continue to arise are
changing skills required for the ICT technician. Today’s
communications companies and their technician workforce require a
broader and deeper knowledge of both the hardware and the
software involved to avoid dead-end technical jobs that cannot be
easily transferred within the ICT industry.
National Center for Telecommunications Technologies (NCTT) has
responded to the change in industry, to changes in the
technologies in the communications industry, and to the new
knowledge requirements, by establishing a national collaborative
of community colleges around the country working with industry
partners to capture the breadth of skills needed to successfully
function in this new environment. Currently, the collaborative
consists of 10 community college partners with relationships with
over 50 corporations. These relationships range from curriculum
advisement to hiring of students to attending NCTT sponsored
workshops. This type of sharing of information and concepts
enables best practices in technical education to become standard
operating procedures for educators throughout the United States.
The content derived from these relationships is managed and
disseminated through NCTT’s open content system.
conducts workshops in January and July of each year. Each
workshop serves as an ICT content dissemination mechanism for
high school and college faculty and business
leaders. Additionally, the January workshop is hosted by a
regional partner and serves as a regional network building event.
The workshops combine theory and hands-on laboratory training.
They provide a tested dissemination model and continue to be well
attended and highly rated by participants. More than 700
faculty have attended these workshops during NCTT’s ten years
of operation. Eight percent of the faculty were from vocational
technical high schools, 68 percent from two-year schools, and
24percent from four-year schools. The faculty attending the
workshops have taught three hundred students from vocational
technical high schools, 2,220 from two-year colleges, 285 from
four-year colleges, totaling 2,805 students. Additionally, more
than 2,320 students from underrepresented populations have been
impacted by the NCTT workshops.
to develop and disseminate a unique engineering technology-based
content and curriculum grounded in science and math. This
distinguishes the NCTT curriculum and content from other related
programs available to students and corporate training programs.
NCTT faculty members have published six text books and two
related lab manuals. NCTT, through an additional grant, is
completing 20 ICT laboratory experiments to be delivered in
multiple formats that will address different learning modalities
and technical levels for national dissemination.