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Syracuse iSchool continues Upstate IT Scholarship program to increase IT talent pool, sustain local industries

February 10, 2010

Margaret Spillett
(315) 443-1069

Companies across the United States, including many in Central New York, are facing a shortage of qualified professionals to fill information technology and management jobs, especially positions related to digital or electronic device production and software and Internet services.

Between 2007 and 2009, New York state experienced an 8.2 percent increase in the number of establishments that produced digital or electronic devices and a 2 percent increase in software and Internet service companies. During the same time frame in the 12-county region that makes up New York’s Creative Core, employment in these two sectors increased by 13.7 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively, according to Battelle Memorial Institute studies in 2007 and 2009.

The Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) is responding to these employment trends by educating a new talent pool through its Upstate IT Scholarship Program, launched last year.  

The iSchool is offering Upstate IT Scholarships—a select number of 50-percent tuition scholarships—to qualified applicants for the 2010-11 academic year. The iSchool will cover 50 percent of the tuition costs for the academic year for the following graduate-level programs:

• 42-credit M.S. in information management
• 30-credit executive M.S. in information management
• 36-credit M.S. in telecommunications and network management
• 15-credit certificate of advanced study in information security management
• 15-credit certificate of advanced study in information systems and telecommunications management

The Upstate IT scholarships are available to full- or part-time matriculated students who are permanent residents of Upstate New York. Scholarships will be awarded to a number of both online and campus-based students who are accepted into the approved programs and start the programs in summer or fall 2010.

Upstate IT Scholars will benefit from the world-class faculty at the iSchool, as well as SU’s corporate connections. For example, JPMorgan Chase has taken a proactive approach to meeting the demand for information technologists by collaborating with SU to create a new curriculum.

The new global enterprise technology curriculum teaches students the skills needed to work with large-scale information systems that companies use to support credit card transactions, airplane reservations, hospital records, environmental readings and other large data sets. JPMorgan Chase’s new technology center on SU’s campus is expected to bring hundreds of these types of technology jobs to the region.

Also, Upstate IT Scholars will gain hands-on experience working with multi-million dollar mainframes while they are still students. IBM recently donated a z10 mainframe to SU so students could work on large-scale systems before entering the workforce. IBM also collaborated with SU and the New York State government to build one of the world’s greenest data centers and will use the site as a testbed for students to work alongside professionals on other innovations in energy-efficient information technology and building systems.

The iSchool also wants to assist Upstate New York residents in retooling themselves to fill these IT-related positions. Educating a new workforce will keep numerous innovative and technologically advanced companies in Upstate and will strengthen the economic vitality of the region.

“I had long wanted to complete a graduate degree, but career, family and business ownership had created additional challenges,” says Eric Caballero, a 43-year-old Central New York IT professional and Upstate IT Scholar working toward an executive M.S. degree in information management. “When the scholarship program presented itself, I felt the timing and opportunity were compelling enough for me to finally attain this long-sought educational credential.

“I have always tried to impress upon others the benefit of pursing an IT career,” says Caballero, who has spent the past 21 years in the IT field. “IT is one of those rare areas that cross over to all others. You can love technology and medicine and have an IT career in medicine. You can love technology and music and have an IT career in music. It’s a foundational skill and pursuit that allows growth in anything you desire.”

With its roots in librarianship, the iSchool focuses on educating professionals who can find, organize, manage and distribute information in all of its forms for the benefit of people. It is a leading center for innovative programs in information policy, behavior, management, systems, technology and services. The iSchool—ranked No. 1 nationally in information systems by U.S. News & World Report—seeks partners who share a similar mission in advancing the growth of technology-driven companies and the education of IT professionals in the Upstate New York region. The iSchool would welcome the opportunity to work with Upstate employers to encourage their employees to take advantage of this scholarship program so that they build on their skill set and become vital team members.

To apply for the program and an Upstate IT Scholarship, visit http://ischool.syr.edu/upstateIT.

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