There are many stories these days about high unemployment and a lack of jobs in this country. Don’t tell that to the folks involved with the computer networking program at the Van Buren Technology Center in Lawrence, MI. According to Denis Huffman, instructor for the program, there are plenty of jobs to go around in the field. Huffman, who is also an adjunct professor at Davenport University, states that students who complete the program have an over 90% job placement rate.
This includes students that enter the workforce immediately in networking repair, network re-cabling, and basic network set up and design and those who go on to complete a post-secondary degree in computer science, which Mr. Huffman strongly encourages.
Through an articulation agreement between Van Buren ISD and Davenport University, the computer networking program at Van Buren Tech Center also offers college credit for completed courses. This is appealing to students like Austin Brewer, a deaf/blind senior at Mattawan High School who is enrolled in the computer networking program at Van Buren, who is earning college credit while attending. This coupled with some very attractive scholarships offered by Davenport, make it an easy first choice for his post-secondary education.
Mr. Huffman states that Information Technology is the fastest growing field as far as workforce size and that his networking students are in high demand. One major reason he gives for this is a federal mandate recently passed, calling for all records at hospitals, doctor’s offices, and dental offices to be digitized, electronically secured, and available online globally, 24 hours a day, seven days a week by 2014. This has pressed those in the affected sectors to look to double and even triple their IT workforce to comply with the mandate.
Another big reason Huffman gives for the demand is the serious and growing problem of electronic crimes like identity theft, bank fraud, and other information hacking. He states that the technology changes quickly and there are always new attacks that cyber criminals come up with, so students who have the skills to keep up are in high demand. Businesses like banks and hospitals that hold money and information are held responsible when their customers’ assets are stolen and when this happens it can be very costly. Businesses are willing to pay well for network security because “the cost of loss outweighs the cost of security”, says Huffman. He says that the demand so high that many of his students are recruited as college freshman and have their post-secondary studies paid for.
The computer networking program at Van Buren Tech Center is a two-year program which consists of two parts. The first part is a PC tech program which teaches basic computer repair and hardware/software. The next step students take is one of two specialties: Microsoft Networking Academy or CISCO Networking Academy, which Mr. Huffman directs. Most students will go on to a post-secondary degree in computer science for business, engineering, or other fields.
Denis Huffman has been teaching networking for ten years and worked in the field for 24 years prior to that. Questions about his program can be directed to email@example.com. Additional resources used in this article were www.davenport.edu and www.vbisd.org.