Ann Arbor Journal

ANN ARBOR — Washtenaw Community College now offers accelerated certificate programs in information technology designed to train students for jobs in the high-demand Information Technology industry.

With funding provided by a $2.9 million U.S. Department of Labor Grant, the IGNITE program offers certificates comprised of traditional classroom studies blended with online learning. IGNITE stands for Intentionally Growing New Information Technology Employees In Michigan.

As part of the IGNITE program, students will learn the latest in industry standards for Java Programming and Linux/Unix systems administration.

The programs will prepare and qualify students for the following jobs:

n Computer Programmers

n System Software Developer

n System Administrator

n Network Administrator

n Network Specialist

According to a 2013 report from the Workforce Intelligence Network, the most significant job growth in southeast Michigan is in information technology. The report notes that more than 3,000 jobs were posted for software developers in the second quarter of 2013.

“We are very excited about this training program,” said Charles Lafayette, program manager for the grant. “One thing that makes this program so unique, is that it has an internship coordinator dedicated to match WCC students with area employers – providing our students with real world experience to augment their college studies. This partnership will serve to fill the pipeline with qualified prospects able to step right into information technology positions – which continue to be in very high demand.”

The program is multi-tiered – allowing students to enter at levels commensurate with their current information technology knowledge base. The coursework is aligned with current IT industry standards and certifications.

An IT Career Readiness course is also available for students with little or no IT experience. Additional components of the overall grant program include dedicated advising and tutoring services. Credit classes are transferrable to a WCC associate’s degree and many are offered each semester. Space is available in winter courses. Registration and schedule information is available at

WCC is currently looking for area employers to provide internship opportunities for WCC IT students.

“Both WCC students and area IT employers benefit from an internship arrangement,” said Rachel Finer Levy, IGNITE program internship coordinator. “The college provides solid training and instruction to our IT students – enabling them to enter an IT position equipped with the ability to make meaningful contributions in a short amount of time. It’s a relationship in which everyone benefits.”

Also unique about the program is that internships can be customized to meet employer needs as well as student educational goals. Internships may include student contributions to ongoing work or on specific projects.

For more information about the IT certificate programs e-mail or call 734-677-5137.

Employers interested in internship partnerships can contact Rachel Finer Levy at 734-677-5115 or

About IGNITE at Washtenaw Community College: IGNITE (Intentionally Growing New Information Technology Employees in Michigan) was developed under a $2.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The primary goal is to provide training to those who are unemployed, underemployed, or are military veterans, though classes are open to anyone interested.

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