Rural Information Technology Alliance (RITA)

IT as an industry in rural areas is broad, ubiquitous, critical and shallow. There are robust IT training resources in urban areas, including public colleges, private colleges, for-profit entities and others competing to prepare the IT workforce. In rural areas, IT training resources are extremely thin. Therein lies a painful dilemma for all IT companies and departments in rural regions. IT permeates every aspect of working life and is critical to success, but the supply of trained IT technicians is inadequate, and the training pipeline insufficient to meet the needs. Rural college IT programs often lag behind their urban counterparts in laboratory development, certifications, and numbers. This coalition of four colleges, allied workforce centers, industry partners and IT employers proposes to implement a project that will address these critical rural IT workforce needs by upgrading college programs and by constructing career ladders and removing barriers to TAA-eligible workers and other adult workforce center clients so that they may enter the IT workforce, find high-wage employment and fill the gaps in the rural IT workforce. This Rural Information Technology Alliance (RITA) will be a model for colleges and their partners in developing strategies and collaborative solutions to the workforce need for skilled technicians and the rural workers need for pathways into IT careers.

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