Academic Year 2013-14 is underway, and our working groups are planning a great year for college computing and IT students in Maine. We're also kicking off new initiatives to help high-school and adult learners discover and pursue pathways toward high-demand computing careers. Thanks to our friends and partners employers, professionals, educators, and students around the state who are helping us bring the vision to life in Higher Education
Campus Networking Receptions - We're about to announce the dates for the next round of University of Maine System campus receptions in Orono, Portland, Augusta, Farmington, and Fort Kent. This year, the UMS events will be scheduled for October and November to kick-off the 2014 internship recruiting season.
Student Retention and Success (UMS) - Each UMS campus now has a dedicated faculty member helping develop the next student success survey and identify new academic supports that will most benefit students. We are also developing a collaboration space to help UMS computing and IT students help each other, perhaps with coaching sessions by professionals in the field. Finally, USM is announcing a new co-op program that will facilitate internships and real world experience to first-year students.
Paid Student Internships: A survey of current internship providers is underway, and outreach to a targeted group of employers who may provide paid internships in the future starts in October, including presentations to HR professionals. Tips for new interns and employers will follow this fall. Our growing internship employers inventory now has its own home on our website: http://projectlogin.com/all-internships.
Expansion to Private and Community Colleges: Thomas College has joined Project>Login, and we've added their degree programs to our inventory at http://projectlogin.com/degree-programs. This month, we'll be promoting P>L in meetings with presidents and faculty at Northern Maine Community College, the University of Maine at Fort Kent, the University of Maine at Presque Isle, the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, Husson College, and Eastern Maine Community College.
Professional Pathways Campaign - Time and again, we have heard that the greatest impediments to promoting computing and IT careers are lingering, out-of-date stereotypes about the profession. So, we are asking professionals to tell us about what they do, what they love about their jobs, and why they've stayed in Maine (or moved here). We will share those myth-busting stories and recommended learning opportunities through a prototype awareness campaign being tested with secondary schools and career centers this fall.
Statewide Info Tech Events: We've begun studying conferences held here in Maine and around the country to determine the feasibility of one or more statewide tech events focusing on, but not limited to, high school students. The goal: increase in-person connections between professionals, students, and educators.
Community Collaboration Activities: We're convening a group to investigate models for collaborative community activities that bring together professionals, college students, high school students, and their families to reinforce fundamental computing concepts through both hands-on coding and group learning activities.
Statewide Resources Hub: We've reorganized and rewritten much of our online content to improve quality and usability, including:
(Good news: Although we've only found 17 Maine high schools offering computing courses, every student in Maine is eligible to take AP Computer Science for free through AP4All: http://www.ap4all.org/courses/ap-computer-science/) Marketing and Outreach - Over 1,900 people visited our website 3,000+ times between April 15 and September 15, with more than 11,000 page views; indeed, almost 2/3 were returning visitors. Nearly 490 fans have liked our Facebook page, with posts regularly reaching 200-400 people. A single August post reached over 1,300. And, I have met or spoken with dozens of people interested in Project>Login! So, with your help, we are growing the network of computing and IT professionals to meet the needs of our IT-enabled organizations statewide. Thank you for your support!