Oceans of Data Institute will partner with Columbus State Community College (OH) in a new ATE-NSF funded project: Data Analytics Technician Advancement (DATA) Program. The project will establish a DATA Pathway in the central Ohio region to increase the supply of qualified data analytics technicians. Multiple entry and exit points will offer maximum flexibility to address the shifting needs of industry employers and accommodate the diverse interests and experiences of students of different ages and life stages. ODI will draw upon previous NSF-funded work, including ODI’s Creating Pathways for Big Data Careers, to facilitate the design of work-based learning activities and supportive materials for students enrolled in DATA. Specifically, ODI will work with Columbus State and its industry partners to develop a comprehensive guide for big data related internships that includes: problem scenarios that reflect the current work ethos for data workers; performance-based rubrics that align to industry expectations for the workplace; and relevant, adapted sections of EDC’s Guide to Work-Based Learning in the Manufacturing Firm. In addition, the project’s deliverables will include : (1) a new industry-led curriculum in data analytics that will include three new courses resulting in a new DATA certificate that is stackable toward an Associate's Degree in Information Systems & Analytics; (2) 2+2+2 Data Analytics Technician Advancement (DATA) Pathway to coordinate and facilitate the education pipeline from high school to the community college to a university; (3) learning modules that educate students on the foundational aspects of data analytics, adaptable for contextualized courses within other non-computer science programs; and (4) an outreach plan for veteran populations to attract active and former military into the DATA program.
The project responds to projections generated by JobsOhio, a private non-profit corporation that seeks to drive job creation and new investment in Ohio. According to the agency, career prospects across the eleven-county central Ohio region are expected to be bright for well-educated data analysts and related IT specialists. By 2024, central Ohio employers in manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, insurance, banking, retail, and government will need 1,794 additional data analysts (a 20% growth rate). Despite the high demand for data analysts, higher education has been slow to integrate data analysis into the curriculum. The DATA project will address this by developing a regional pathway model and innovative curriculum that can be replicated nationally.