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Project OCTEIN

WHAT IS PROJECT OCTEIN

Open Community Technology Education Initiative, Nebraska

Building the Tech Pipeline Through Community Empowerment

Open Community Technology Education Initiative Nebraska (OCTEIN) is a project that seeks to build the local tech pipeline by empower local community organizations. The project aims to achieve this goal by:

  • Meeting students where they are at.
  • Leveraging existing relationships.
  • Providing free, open-source curriculum.
  • Providing training and mentoring to partner organizations.
  • Providing free access to a cloud-based lab environment.
WHY ARE WE DOING THIS PROJECT

WHY ARE WE DOING THIS PROJECT

The technology industry has long suffered from a lack of minority and female representation. This lack of representation is also reflected in the student body in the Department of Information Technology at Metropolitan Community College. Females and racial and ethnic minority representation continues to lag in this field of study. Although the Omaha Metropolitan Area is diverse: *Latinos comprise approximately 14% of the area’s population; African Americans are close behind at approximately 12.5% of the population; and Females of any race or ethnicity comprise approximately 50% of the area’s population. Unfortunately only a small percentage of students from these underrepresented groups persist to completion in this academic pathway. Consequently, our primary objective in launching this program is to help create a more diverse technology talent pipeline that provides students with solid foundational skills in a less intimidating environment.

*Source: https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/omahacitynebraska/RHI125219

HOW WE WILL IMPLEMENT THIS PROJECT

HOW WE WILL IMPLEMENT THIS PROJECT

Leveraging Existing Relationships
Community organizations know their communities. While Metropolitan Community College (MCC) is a community organization, MCC’s primary focus is educating non-traditional students in the community. Other community organizations have existing clientele. Rather than attempting to establish a new cohort of potential students by scouring the community, OCTEIN seeks to let community partners work however they work best, as we believe our community partners know their clientele best.

 

Providing Free Curriculum
OCTEIN’s core lies in several non-credit, industry certificate aligned courses. Curriculum is designed for delivery in 5-day, 10-day, 5-week, or 10-week formats, depending on the needs of the organization. OCTEIN courses may be delivered by any volunteer, there is no requirement to hold specific academic credentials.

Volunteers may attend MCC-sponsored training, and/or participate in a mentorship program and community of practice to facilitate best-learning practices. The basic requirements to teach an OCTEIN course: a). a desire to learn; b). a desire to introduce technology and technology-related concepts. What does this free curriculum potentially mean? By introducing technology to students in a low-risk environment, OCTEIN seeks to set students up for success.

 

Providing Training and Mentorship to Partner Organizations
OCTEIN is designed around the concept or empowering the community to build the tech pipeline. The Omaha Metropolitan Area is rich in civic participation, and there is a strong spirit of volunteerism in the community.

Not all volunteers are technologists.

OCTEIN seeks to empower the community by offering volunteer training and mentorship to any community member that wishes to teach OCTEIN courses. Training will take place as 5 or 10-week non-credit course delivered in person, remotely (live online session), or a mixture thereof.

 

Providing Free Access to a Cloud-Based Lab Environment
Metropolitan Community College’s Fort Omaha Campus is home to a $24 million academic data center. The academic data center has been built to provide students with practical, hands-on IT experience. The community supported MCC by investing in the academic data center, and MCC is returning the favor by providing access to the academic data center back to the community.

Omaha is a very diverse city, both in terms of racial and ethnic population, but also in terms of wealth distribution. A specific challenge within the community is access to adequate technology to facilitate learning. Very few students can afford to build a “home lab”, and few non-IT organizations can afford the investment in labs themselves, much less the long tail of maintenance. By providing access to the MCC Academic Data Center, OCTEIN seeks to provide equal access to technology. OCTEIN courses are written to be conducted within the Academic Data Center. Ultimately, an OCTEIN student would need 1). High-speed Internet access, and 2). A single laptop or desktop computer.

OCTEIN CURRICULUM

OCTEIN CURRICULUM

OCTEIN’s core lies in several non-credit, industry certificate aligned courses.

OCTEIN Course Certification MCC Equivalency*
Introduction to IT CompTIA IT Fundamentals+ INFO 1002
Intro to Computer Programming A.P. Computer Science Principles1 INFO 1003
Intro to HTML and CSS Microsoft MTA 98-383 INFO 1311
PC Repair | CompTIA A+ INFO 1105
PC Repair II INFO 1125
Networking Fundamentals | CompTIA Network+ INFO 1023
Networking Fundamentals || INFO 2023

* Credit must be petition within 6 months of earning a certification. The credit petition process requires a payment a fee (as of July, 2020 - rates may change). MCC residency requirements still apply for degree-seeking students.

As of July, 2020, there is a non-refundable $40 fee to process credit petitions. Please see https://www.mccneb.edu/Prospective-Students/Resources/Student-Services-SOS/Records/Institutional-Course-Proficiency.aspx for more information.
 
HOW TO BECOME A COMMUNITY PARTNER

PARTNERSHIP

What does it take to become an OCTEIN partner?
1. At least one volunteer willing to serve as a liaison between your organization and the Metropolitan Community College Department of Information Technology
2. At least one volunteer willing to teach OCTEIN course content (this volunteer may also be your organizational liaison)
3. A budget to purchase course materials
4. High speed Internet access for participants
5. Laptop computers for participants

In addition, the Department of Information Technology asks that any partner distribute educational and marketing materials provided by the department of Information Technology. The Department of Information Technology respects our partners’ independence, unique missions and focus areas, and will limit those materials to informational program cards (approximately 15 separate program options) and information on how to translate earned certifications into college credits.

For additional details or program inquires,
please email projectoctein@mccneb.edu.

CURRENT COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS

PARTNERSHIPS

Current OCTEIN Community Partners