Miami Dade College (MDC) students seeking certification in the technical field can work side-by-side with the world’s biggest tech corporations.
The college’s workforce training programs like cyber security and data analytics are among the most popular among students, said Dr. Malou C. Harrison, MDC’s executive vice president and provost.
One of the partnerships the college was able to garner recently was a $10 million IBM award specifically to train students in these emerging technology fields and to get them into the workplace, Dr. Harrison said. “Some of them will land jobs at IBM, but they’re going to be equipped to really transition into the tech world with what they’ve been able to be trained on.”
Other partnerships and training include Microsoft, Artificial Intelligence, Amazon web services cloud computing and, most recently, a collaboration with NASA in which students get exposed to work-based internships, scholarships and connections with NASA for future careers.
MDC is continuing its partnership with Tesla, Dr. Harrison said, “We actually have a Tesla automotive technician program right here on-site at the college flagged shop. We’re training students to become automotive technicians in the auto electric world, and every single student that’s trained gets placed with Tesla. We bring the training full circle with a work-based program that leads to not only a permanent full-time job but a career.”
As its campuses continue to recover from the pandemic, Miami Dade College has recently seen an increase in enrollment, narrowing its gap to a 4% total decline from pre-covid days compared to 12% this time last year.
The college was standing at an overall 6% decline with the completion of the summer semester compared to pre-covid enrollment. With fall term enrollment numbers, the decline has decreased by nearly two percentage points, college President Madeline Pumariega told Miami Today in September. “We are still registering students for the start of our 12-week and eight-week courses. So, our registration continues probably until mid-October.”
The college offers eight, 10, 12, 14 and traditional 16-week semesters where students can really start at various times within a semester, Dr. Harrison added. Students need to basically show up at any college campus and an MDC advisor from the School of Technology will be able to provide all the resources and details needed to enroll in these workforce training programs.
“We have advisory committees here at the institution, and on those advisory committees are leaders and practitioners from that industry who work with our faculty, who are the architects of the curriculum, to make sure that our training programs and activities are well aligned with what the industry needs and requires,” she said. “That is a mantra of our institution.”
Miami Dade College (MDC) has been awarded three grants totaling more than $14 million over the next five years from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education’s Hispanic Serving Institutions – STEM & Articulation Programs to enhance the success of minority students in critical STEM fields.
“This investment from the U.S. Department of Education ensures MDC continues serving as the workforce engine for Greater Miami,” said MDC President Madeline Pumariega. “This vital funding will support innovative programs, including in artificial intelligence, data sciences and quantum computing, that create much needed STEM career pathways for women, Black and Hispanic students.”
MDC’s School of Science will receive $5 million for its STEM Strategies for Maximizing Achievement, Retention, and Transfer (STEM SMART) project, which will provide undergraduate research internships and field-based experiences; research skills training; STEM completion and transfer assistance; a peer support system and online supplemental instruction; an enhanced virtual STEM Community of Interest; college tours; and professional development for faculty undergraduate research mentors.
Another $5 million will go to MDC North Campus for its STEM Pathways for Acceleration, Completion, and Transfer Success (STEM PACTS) project. STEM PACTS provides supplemental instruction, research internships, field-based experiences, a virtual STEM Community of Interest, peer mentoring, and career and transfer advising to college students; and outreach and a STEM summer bridge program to high school students. The College will also renovate an existing lab to serve as the STEM Reinventing Educational Equity for Students Center, a new STEM Student Center on campus.
MDC Wolfson Campus will receive $4,449,913 for the STEM Legacy project, which will establish the STEM AXIS Center (a centralized resource hub for students); develop a peer-to-peer learning community; provide mentoring and tutoring through Peer Academic Leaders and PeerLed Team Learning; implement specialized courses; hold workshops; provide appreciative advising; enhance STEM facilities; and coordinate research and internship opportunities.