As technology advances, so too does the need for continual training. Computer Systems Institute has your desk ready.
As technology advances, so too does the need for continual training. Skokie-based Computer Systems Institute has your desk ready. President and CEO Ella Zibitsker talks about why she founded the school, how the training field is changing, and why CSI got a check for $3 million.
What kinds of challenges did you find in providing this kind of training?
As every unemployed IT professional knows, training can’t substitute for experience. And there are plenty of experienced professionals in every IT field–if not in the US, then offshore. So our training offerings are adjusted accordingly. One major challenge is changing our training programs continually to reflect job market requirements. Another is our training methodology. Our innovative training methodology consists of a blended format of instructor-led, online learning, and project development components to provide IT professionals with industry-desired experience and virtual classrooms. But we must continually innovate.
The last challenge is career advising. IT has changed from client/server to a distributed application development environment. And many IT professionals are not prepared adequately to meet the challenges of the online economy. We spend significant amounts of time trying to put together the right training package for each prospect. And it works. Our graduates are getting jobs.
What makes the Institute different from other schools?
We have job placement assistance. We know where the jobs are and how to get them. We are proud of our job placement track record. We regularly offer free job searching workshops to everyone who needs help in getting a job.
We use the blended learning methodology. It means that students are gaining practical experience in addition to their online and classroom training. It also means that long after the training is completed, our students still have unlimited access to online courses to expand or improve their skills. And our online component is what most corporations are using for their own internal employee training.
Are there any trends that you may have noticed in technology education recently?
There are two major trends, among many others, that affect IT professionals and education. One is what I call the “Plumber Effect.” Can you imagine hiring a plumber to fix a problem, and examining his tools first? IT professionals should identify their functional area of expertise and continually expand their technology tool set required for that area. Online training is excellent for that. At CSI, our students have access to over 1,500 online courses that help them be prepared for any job.
The other trend is just-in-time employment. That’s similar to just-in-time inventory. You must be productive the first day of employment. So keep on honing your existing skills and adding new ones. And there are plenty of opportunities to building experience while in transition.
What are some recent developments at the Institute?
We recently received a Department of Labor (DOL) $3 million grant to provide free training to unemployed IT professionals. We are the only training organization in the country that was selected by DOL for that type of training.
We are opening more campuses in Illinois, as well as in other states. It will help more professionals to experience CSI training. And we’re in the process of seeking approval for degree programs that will be open for enrollment in January 2005.
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