Giving other colleges an edge.
Although their goals are the same, colleges often find themselves in competition with one another for students and teachers alike. But at Camden County College, things are a little different. Having created and expanded an array of IT offerings, the Camden-based college decided to teach other educational institutions how to duplicate its success. Karen Kozachyn, the college’s director, chats about mentorship, Drexel University, and fishing instruction.
How exactly does the program work?
Technology Mentoring is a simple concept. Camden County College extends to the partnering college all of our expertise in program design plus marketing, laboratory set-up and equipment purchasing. We even teach the first few courses and allow prospective instructors from the partnering college to sit in and learn how to teach them. To ensure strong enrollments, we also conduct information/recruitment sessions for the prospective students on the partner’s campus. In return, Camden County College is compensated with one-half of the annual net revenue, until the partner feels ready to do IT training without us, and then we leave. To calculate the net revenue, we simply subtract all of the costs incurred by both partners–instructor compensation, hardware, software, books and advertising–from the total tuition generated. Then we divide the profit equally. It’s really quite simple for everyone.
How did the program get started?
The IT Mentoring program began as an informal agreement with Delaware County Community College in Pennsylvania. Knowing about our highly successful experience as a regional leader in IT certification training, DCCC asked us to help launch an IT certification department on one of their campuses. In the first year, the partnership offered CompTIA A+ and MCSE certifications. The program was such a success that the following year the partnership was extended to include Certified Internet Webmaster. Since then, Technology Mentoring has been expanded to include several other partners, including, most recently, Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Why do you think this program is important?
Currently, there are a few profit-driven organizations that partner with community colleges to provide this service. Typically, however, for-profit partners demand long-term contracts, non-compete restrictions and as much as 75 percent of the gross revenue. Of course, they do most of the work–but they expect a very hefty financial return for that. And, years later, the college is still locked into the partnership. The difference is that while for-profit partners fish for you, Camden County College teaches our partners how to fish. Once our partners know how, all future profit is theirs.
The economy seems to have made it a little difficult for tech workers to find jobs. How do you predict what kind of skills will be needed after they leave school?
Camden County College has a highly motivated and talented technical team that focuses on “what’s next.” We believe in training and certifying our instructors and staff to understand the market-driven industry. They keep us ahead of the curve. And because we have the full support of the college president, we’re able to follow that curve wherever it leads.
What do you like best about the program?
Beyond the wonderful camaraderie we’ve been able to develop with our partners, the most exciting aspect of Technology Mentoring is the opportunity that it provides to ensure that reasonably priced, high-quality IT training is broadly available around the country. Camden County College is proud of its unique expertise and of its willingness to share that expertise with others.
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