New name, connections are top priorities for IT group

New name, connections are top priorities for IT group

Friday, September 10, 2010

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College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

Picking a new name and making new connections with students have been top priorities for the southwest Missouri information technology consortium.

Now known as the Mid-America Technology Alliance, the group will continue to work with the OTC Center for Workforce Development in providing leadership to the growing technology sector of the region, said Sherry Coker, business manager for OTC’s workforce center and a member of the MATA executive council.

Coker said the new name gives the alliance a goal to grow into the name.

“It lets people know we are serious. It gives us a name we can market,” Coker said.

The name change is part of the group’s broader plan to pursue funding to further the mission and purpose of the alliance.

“Having a name that truly links the industry purpose with the region will best serve to build a competitive and sustainable IT talent force,” said Dawn Busick, executive director of the workforce center.

There are more than 40 members of the alliance, including those from technology companies as well as government entities, participate in bi-monthly discussions centered on attracting and developing IT talent.

The alliance is working to reach out to local schools to attract students to technology careers. Next month, the group will hear from Rhonda Mammen, coordinator of counseling/Title IV for Springfield R-12 school district. The meeting is Oct. 14 at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mammen will give alliance members an overview of the career counseling services available to middle, junior high and high school students and how her team assists students in identifying career paths.

An Oct. 5 college and career fair sponsored by the Springfield school district and Springfield Chamber of Commerce will include — for the first time — representatives from IT fields.

“High school graduates were coming into college not fully aware of the range of technology careers available to them. This led us to want to examine the type of counseling going on in the area of IT,” Coker said. “We want to talk about what’s happening and what MATA can do to help.”

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications for Ozarks Technical Community College. Contact him at koehlers@otc.edu.