WYE MILLS - The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded Chesapeake College a $317,000 grant to recruit and retain students in computer technology programs. Chesapeake’s program prepares technicians for IT industry employment.
The NSF grant for Chesapeake’s “Preparing Career Ready Information Technology Technicians” proposal is a three-year award.
With the grant, Chesapeake will help build a more diverse, career-ready skilled technical workforce for the rural Eastern Shore.
“I am so very proud of the work performed by the Computer Science Technology (CST) NSF grant team,” said Dr. Lanka Elson, Professor of Computer Science Technology. “This grant will provide our program with additional resources to recruit more females into the program and to provide all CST students with formal career readiness training. Our goal is to provide IT technicians for the Eastern Shore of Maryland and beyond.”
Dr. Elson added, “I am honored to be a professor at Chesapeake College and to be involved with the National Science Foundation.”
Chesapeake offers an Associate of Applied Science in Computer Science Technology (CST). Currently, female enrollment in the CST program does not reflect the overall demographics of Chesapeake’s student population.
The grant mission focuses on increasing female student enrollment and retention, while preparing all CST students for future employment.
The grant provides funding for a student ambassador program at Chesapeake for the CST program. Grant funds will used to pay student ambassadors for attending, assisting, and sharing their experiences as a student at recruiting events. These include Counselor Day, Career Fair and Chesapeake’s Open House event. Additional planned recruiting events include a follow- up Girls Who Code event on campus, on-site visits to pilot high schools (Caroline County Technology Center, North Caroline, and Colonel Richardson) and participation in a Career Exploration Event facilitated by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Title 1 Program. Collateral materials will be developed for use in recruitment and to raise general awareness.
A July 2021 employer survey showed that the local employers prioritized four of the 10 readiness skills – 1) teamwork, 2) customer service, 3) communication, and 4) professionalism.
The grant provides resources for Chesapeake to integrate those employer priorities in the curriculum to better prepare students for the workplace.
For more information about CST program at Chesapeake, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.