Thursday, September 17, 2009

Local IT Firm partners with Ohio colleges to help shape IT professionals of the future

Sep 17, 2009 – Although the job market seems dire right now, local IT services firm Information Control Corporation (ICC) is looking past that. ICC believes that someday very soon, it will be critical for Ohio to make sure it has its share of excellent IT professionals. Not just graduates with computer science degrees, but candidates that have the skills that will be in demand. And ICC is doing what it can to make it happen.

"We want to prevent a shortage of skilled IT people in Ohio. We're not going to be in a down market forever," says Rick Ritzler, ICC's Director of Recruiting. "If graduates have valuable skills, they'll have an advantage, and companies will want to hire them. In turn, when companies like ours have the talent they need, they'll be more successful. It's a benefit to everyone to keep graduates here in Ohio."

Partnering with Ohio schools

One way that ICC is planning ahead is by reaching out to Ohio colleges. ICC foresees that having a strong base of entry level IT professionals will be a big part of their business when things start to turn around. They're working to put good relationships with colleges in place now so that they'll be ready in the future.

ICC already had established relationships with several schools, but recently began to expand their reach. By looking at the rankings of schools around Ohio and the courses they offer, ICC identified 16 additional schools with whom to build strong relationships. ICC met with each school to share why ICC is a viable option for students looking for work.

"When talking to each school, we emphasized the excellent entry level programs we've built at ICC - programs that include intense training and career mentoring in technical areas that are in demand now," Ritzler states. Those skills include business intelligence, interactive development, and web application development. ICC predicts that market demand for those skills will only increase with time.

And ICC's efforts have already paid off. With some recent wins, they've had an immediate need for entry level professionals. They were able to call on some of their newly established relationships to meed those needs, and have hired 20 grads in the last three months.

ICC's Information Factory
One of the biggest areas where ICC is using new grads is their recently formed Information Factory (IF). IF offers an alternative to offshore providers, and gives clients the low cost they're looking for, with all the benefits of a local company.  IF can be used for a range of IT needs, like application integration, data migrations, and modernization of legacy applications.  

The IF concept also works as a way to develop and keep young professionals in Central Ohio.   With the increase in software development work being sent offshore, the United States has lost a valuable and effective training ground for aspiring computer professionals.  And many here in Columbus, including Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish, are voicing concern that Ohio is losing too many young people who are moving to other states. The IF team intentionally recruits from Ohio colleges, and pairs each of these new employees with a senior resource to help them train and come up to speed quickly.

Bringing about a shift in student learning

Because of its focus on entry level hiring over the past two years, ICC started to notice a gap between skills demanded in the market and skills that students were learning in college. This puts students at a real disadvantage as they enter the job market. Especially since graduates aren't just competing with local colleagues for jobs. They're facing competition on a global scale. Instead of just focusing their efforts on more experienced resources, ICC decided to explore ways they might be able to have an influence on students that will graduate in upcoming years.

ICC spoke with four professors from the Ohio State University to talk about skills students are learning. ICC presented its view of the future of IT in Central Ohio - how IT services will be delivered and marketed - and what types of opportunities this presents for computer science students. They discussed with the professors how students could be better prepared for the workforce and how changes in curriculum might help.

Ritzler feels that ICC's efforts are making a real impact. "It was exciting to talk about how to make real changes so that students will be more marketable. We're hoping this is just the first in a series of things ICC can do to help Ohio colleges turn out the best IT professionals in the nation."

About ICC:
ICC is the largest locally-owned IT solutions firm in Ohio, providing professional consulting and project outsourcing for mid-market and Fortune 500 companies in a variety of industries. Our services include application development, networking technologies, business intelligence, technical support and project management.


Blogger Daryl Kulak said...

Nice article about a great local company.

September 18, 2009 at 1:40 PM  

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