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Information Technology Training and Employment Program for Rural Communities Presented by Mel Ustad

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Title: Information Technology Training and Employment Program for Rural Communities Presented by Mel Ustad


1
Information Technology Training and Employment
Program for Rural CommunitiesPresented byMel
Ustad Associate Dean of Research University of
South Dakota
  • Strengthening Building Partnerships for
    Workforce Development
  • March 5, 2003
  • Orlando, Florida

2
Rural Information Technology Employment (RITE)
Link
  • National Science Foundation Information
    Technology Research/Workforce Development Project
  • Objective
  • Develop and test a model IT education/training/eco
    nomic development program for rural communities
    utilizing distance education and
    telecommunications technologies for education and
    employment of IT workers.

3
Project Partners
  • University of South Dakota
  • Sitting Bull Community College
  • Consortium of K-12 Schools
  • IT Businesses Entrepreneurs
  • Economic Development Organizations
  • University Researchers Technology
    Entrepreneurships Programs

4
RITE Link Process
  • Recruit rural communities participants-Six
    rural communities over 700 participants
  • Create community IT profile
  • Screen participants-150 participants
  • Provide IT training to selected participants
  • Recruit IT business partners
  • IT business partner employs IT training
    participant

5
Findings
  • Rural community interest is high.
  • Existing education and IT skill level of 700
    rural residents interested in the program was
    high. (70 Post Secondary Ed)
  • 81 of the 150 training participants have post
    secondary education.
  • 77 of IT training participants are female.

6
Findings Continued
  • Infrastructure is adequate in most rural Midwest
    communities.
  • With the tech sector slowdown large IT business
    interest has declined remote employees but
    outsource more work.
  • The business focus has sifted to entrepreneurial
    development and alternative partners, smaller IT
    companies.
  • Facilitating a change in the IT business culture
    and structure is difficult.

7
New Initiatives
  • RITE Team AssociationOrganized by participants
    to market IT skills.
  • Non-Profit Membership organization RITE Link
    Participants
  • Communities interested in IT based economic
    development.

8
RITE Resource, Inc. (RRI)Something Was Still
Missing
  • The RITE-Team Association to date has had limited
    success.
  • It is apparent that several key elements are
    missing from their efforts
  • A full-time sales and marketing effort to win
    large scale consulting bids and build business
    partner relationships
  • People to form and manage the project teams
    delivering the consulting services
  • The infrastructure necessary to support these
    teams whose members may be distributed in rural
    areas

9
RITE Resource, Inc. (RRI)Our Mission
  • Provide clients world-class e-Business
    consulting, application development and hosting
    services
  • Provide employment and consulting opportunities
    for USD, DSU and RITE-Link program graduates
  • Provide higher-paying jobs for these individuals
    who chose to live in rural communities
  • Provide solid earnings to our shareholders while
    being a good corporate citizen

10
RITE Resource, Inc. (RRI)Target Markets
  • RRI will go to where the business is
  • Initial markets of Sioux Falls, Sioux City
    Omaha have a population base of 1.5 million.
    RRI must prove its model in these markets in its
    first year
  • Then we can expand to markets within a one-day
    drive including Kansas City, Davenport, Des
    Moines, Minneapolis (5.5 million people)
  • Then to markets within a two-day drive including
    Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver
    and Colorado Springs (16.5 million)

11
RITE Resource, Inc. (RRI)Services Offered
  • Software application development for e-Business
    using Java
  • Architecture, design and business analysis
  • Project management services
  • Web-based application hosting services
  • Quality Assurance testing services
  • Telephone customer support services

12
RITE Resource, Inc. (RRI)Funding Needed
  • RRI stock allocated to three groups
  • RRI Management employees (40),
  • reserved for future needs (20)
  • initial investors including USD, RITE-Team
    Association and five communities (40)
  • GOED Future Fund grant dollars match community
    investments.
  • Existing facilities used in many communities.
  • Low infrastructure costs.

13
University Research and Technology Entrepreneurs
  • N2TEC partnership links university research and
    technology entrepreneurs to rural communities to
    identify and explore IT and technology based
    opportunities.
  • Internet based venture presentations by
    technology entrepreneurs
  • Expose rural communities to technology based
    entrepreneurship
  • Provides university based technology
    entrepreneurs to additional funding and support
    opportunities.

14
Unique Features of Project
  • Communities collaborating rather than competing.
  • Large research universities involved in rural
    development efforts.
  • Entrepreneurial Economic Development
  • Communities universities have equity
  • Employees have equity
  • Focus on building 21st century technology high
    paying jobs rather than attracting 20th century
    declining industries
  • Focus on quality of life in rural communities

15
K-12 Project Activities
  • TechTownIT use and career exploration website
    lesson plans for elementary school students
  • CyberSpace CampInternet based summer and after
    school program that allows students to explore IT
    advances, their community and IT entrepreneurship
    opportunities.

16
Additional Information
  • Mel Ustad
  • Principal Investigator
  • Associate Dean of Research
  • University of South Dakota
  • Vermillion, SD 57069
  • 605-677-5370
  • Gustad_at_usd.edu
  • Project Website www.ritelink.dsu.edu
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