Schools work to prepare local students for a career in IT

Published: Aug. 16, 2017 at 1:24 PM CDT
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There's a high demand for Information technology professionals in our area. To meet the need, educators are hoping their curriculums inspire students to pursue this career path.

"Everybody uses it, there's not a job where you can go today where you don't have to interact with a computer," said Jason Schenzel, Associate Dean of the School of Technology with Mid-State Technical College.

Technology is integrated in our daily lives; whether it be in your home or at your job. Now, it's even entered the classrooms, where children use technology as a teaching tool.

"We're trying to develop student's technology skills at an early age and use it throughout their career," said Jon Winter, the Career and Technical Education Coordinator with the Wausau School District.

He said encouraging students to pursue a career in the IT field begins at a young age.

"IT is a critical piece, within our school district and within our curriculum," he said.

At Wausau West, students have the opportunity to experience different aspects of the IT field.

"They have access to some high-end, high-tech equipment, with that idea of hands-on learning and creating some excitement within our IT fields," said Winter.

Right now, there's a high demand for IT professionals in our area. By integrating technology in the classrooms at a young age, educators hope to encourage students to pursue IT and have a career in the north central Wisconsin area. Many students don't realize how broad the IT field may be.

"There is a huge need here for IT careers, and I think one of the coolest things about IT careers is it's a cross sector," said Nicole Rice. She's the Workforce Services Coordinator with the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. She's also part of a group that focuses on IT in K-12 and higher education in our area.

"The Central Wisconsin Information Technology Alliance, or CWITA, is a group of about 40 employers here in central Wisconsin that are focused on working on solving our IT talent pipeline shortages," said Rice.

By starting off young, educators are hoping their students are inspired to not only pursue a career path in the IT field, but to also stay in the north central Wisconsin area.

"The idea is that we graduate students with the skills that transfer right into our business and industry right here in Wausau," said Winter.

Schenzel said enrollment is increasing for IT classes at Mid-State Technical College, which is continually adding new software and IT programs to its course list.

CWITA is hosting an IT conference on September 30 at Mid-State Technical College. For more information,