Born of Necessity

Nebraska college develops award-wining data-canter program

Nebraska college develops award-wining data-canter program
Photo courtesy of Ted Tucker

When Plato coined the phrase, “necessity is the mother of invention,” the world of computers wasn’t even a speck on civilization’s horizon. Yet, like the ancient Greek philosopher, today’s IT workers know that necessity spurs innovation. Just ask Ted Tucker, instructor for Metropolitan Community College’s (MCC) Information Technology (INFO) program. Tucker and his colleagues developed an award-winning program for data-center management in record time—thanks to necessity.

Omaha, Neb.-based MCC, which has eight campuses, is very responsive to the needs of the business community, and INFO has a history of collaborating with businesses through IBM’s Academic Initiative. Most of MCC’s 50,000 students are already in the workforce and enroll at the college to learn a new skill.

In March 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor’s community-based job training program awarded INFO a $1.8 million grant to address Nebraska’s demand for IT workers. Vacancies were projected to grow 40 percent by 2017 in the Omaha area, according to the governor’s office, and the state was promoting itself as a great place for data centers.

So when an Omaha company approached the college in June 2008 about developing some data-management courses, MCC was happy to help. The company wanted to build data centers in the Midwest, but was having trouble attracting customers due to a lack of trained personnel in the area. “They proposed developing courses as well as a data center,” Tucker says.

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