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EDUCATION–Program Opens IT Training to East County Students



Business in Partnership With High School, College Districts

East County students might be getting a jump on their college and career plans through a new information technology training program.

In January, the Grossmont Union High School District, Grossmont/Cuyamaca Community College District and 3Com Corp. formed a partnership to create a training program that focuses on network fundamentals.

Under the agreement, classes will be offered this summer or this fall at local high schools and the NetPrep training center will be established on the Grossmont College campus this summer.

3Com helped prepare the curriculum that will be used, according to Raymond Charfauros, the company’s southwest district manager for its enterprise business group.

“Our experience as a networking industry leader also means that we understand precisely what kind of basic curriculum is required to train students for many of the hundreds of thousands of information technology related jobs that are going unfilled today,” he said.

The Santa Clara-based company with two San Diego offices believes that the curriculum should provide students with real-world job skills, Charfauros said.

– Coursework Prepares

Students For Jobs

High school coursework would prepare students for entry-level information technology positions. Those who go through the college program would qualify for higher-level careers in network management.

High schools will offer elective courses that focus on the design, implementation, management and integration of computer networks. Schools currently offer some classes and will be adding the rest in the coming year, according to Superintendent Granger B. Ward of the Grossmont Union High School District.

El Capitan, Granite Hills, Monte Vista and Mount Miguel high schools in the Grossmont district will participate in the program. Eleventh- and 12th-grade students can take four semesters of standards-based coursework in networking fundamentals, local area networks, wide area networks, and network architectures.

“Students have to demonstrate mastery, not just pass,” Ward said.

On a letter-grade standard, a C or D would not be acceptable and a B would be a minimum. Students would be expected to do A work, he said.

– Students Should Want

To Pursue IT Careers

The school wants to fill classes with students who are interested in information technology. The response has been overwhelming so far, Ward said.

“We’ve got students who are clamoring for the courses , classes being offered are being filled,” he said.

Upon graduation, students will qualify for entry-level positions, but Ward believes most students will go onto college.

The training center is not expected to open until the fall, but some classes should be offered this summer, according to Omero Suarez, chancellor of the college district.

The college program consists of eight semester courses that will build on the high school program as part of two degree programs , the associate of arts and associate of science.

Suarez expects the curriculum to be seamless. “Students would not be expected to take the same courses that they’ve already taken at the high school level, he said.

– Program To Address

Management Issues

The program will concentrate on issues students would face in higher-level network management careers.

The college expects many high school students and community members will be interested in the program, Suarez said.

He is also pleased that the partnership helps students enter the work force immediately after receiving training.

Ward believes that this type of partnership is not only “exciting” but also the future of education.

The district has several affiliations with community colleges, universities and businesses to implement new programs and extend existing ones.

Schools currently have courses focusing on finance and technology. Health sciences will be introduced in the fall and the district is working on extending its finance program to include an online small-business venture, he said.

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