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Hello and Welcome to the Technician Pathways site!

Marcia-Mardis-Headshot.jpgIn 2013, the National Science Foundation, through the Advanced Technical Education (ATE) program funded Florida State University’s Information Institute, along with partners from Chipola College and Tallahassee Community College, to study the alignment between what students in technical programs experience in the classroom, what their potential employers expect, and what they experience on the job as new professionals. While we had initially intended to build on our work in rural broadband by looking at students who were becoming broadband technicians, we soon learned that we needed to look at the technician career pathways in the entire field of information technology.

Five years later, we learned more than we ever imagined about IT students, professionals, and employers in Florida’s Panhandle. When we had the opportunity to continue our career pathways work in the context of advanced manufacturing, an adjacent field that is enormously important to Florida’s economy, we were thrilled to deploy our large-scale multi-method triangulation with new participants. We also see many other applications for and extensions of our technician career pathways research ahead for us in the future.

Please browse around the site. We hope you enjoy what you see. If you are interested in learning more, please get in touch with us!



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ⎯ The Florida State University Information Institute www.ii.fsu.edu is pleased to announce its new project with Chipola College, with additional collaboration and advice from the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), Pensacola State College (PSC), Gulf Coast State College (GCSC), Tallahassee Community College (TCC), Northwest Florida State College, and the Northwest Florida Manufacturing Consortium (NWFMC) on a three year National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technical Education (ATE) Full Scale Research and Development project to study and document the school-to-career pathways enabled by the Advanced Manufacturing (AM) programs at Chipola and collaborating colleges in rural Northwest (NW) Florida. The project will be led by Dr. Marcia A. Mardis (PI), Dr. Charles R. McClure (Co-PI), Dr. Faye R. Jones (Co-PI), and Dr. David Bouvin (Co-PI, Chipola).

This empirical study replicates and extends the partners’ current successful research collaboration in which they have assessed IT school-to-career pathways in rural NW Florida. Guided by the overarching research question “To what extent do curriculum content, employer needs, and student experiences align within an advanced manufacturing educational pathway,” this study’s goals are to 1) investigate the role AM program pathways have in meeting the needs of employers and new professionals who are employed in the region; 2) expand the research base and curriculum content recommendations for entrepreneur and intrapreneur education; 3) build regional capacity for AM program assessment and improvement by replicating, refining, and disseminating study approaches through research and engagement with the AM employer and education community. PI Marcia A. Mardis notes, “We are excited about this tremendous opportunity to contribute to the strength of our adjacent rural communities and their growing, vibrant technical capacities.”

By focusing on the opportunities and challenges in rural areas and discerning the experiences of underrepresented women and minorities, this project will improve rural manufacturing capacity by better understanding the relationships among curriculum, employer expectations, and student readiness for AM jobs. The $800,000 three-year study will begin in September 2017 and end in August 2020.

For additional Information contact Dr. Marcia A. Mardis, Associate Director, Information Institute. Assistant Dean of Interdisciplinary Research and Education, College of Communication & Information, and Associate Professor, School of Information: marcia.mardis@cci.fsu.edu


Assessing Information Technology Educational Pathways that Promote Deployment and Use of Rural Broadband

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. ⎯ Florida State University’s Information Institute, part of the School of Information in the College of Communication and Information, is recipient of a four-year, $847,000 award from the National Science Foundation-Advanced Technological Education (NSF-ATE) program to support a study of the educational and career pathways of information technology technicians who support broadband deployment in rural Northwest Florida communities.

The project, “Assessing Information Technology Educational Pathways that Promote Deployment and Use of Rural Broadband,” was prompted by the growth of broadband use in all industries that has resulted in a significant workforce need for IT/broadband workers. The project team focuses on the identification of the workplace roles of broadband technicians; the education needed to develop skills to be successful in these roles; and the processes to sustain partnerships between educational and industry stakeholders.

“The results of the project will further define a field that requires flexible workers who can manage a constant stream of new knowledge and support work functions that are increasingly broadband dependent,” said Charles R. McClure, Francis Eppes Professor of Information Studies and director of the Information Institute, who leads the project as the principal investigator.

Project activities aligns the efforts of educators directly to the needs of employers and industry as they integrate continued broadband deployment initiatives. The study supports the efforts of career technical education to facilitate economic development and connect the nonmetropolitan communities to global society.

Marcia Mardis, associate professor and senior researcher at the Information Institute, and Ebrahim Randeree, assistant dean of the College of Communication and Information, serve as co-principal investigators, along with James P. Froh, dean of the School of Business and Technology at Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., and Kathryn M. Stewart, dean of Technology and Professional Programs Division at Tallahassee Community College. Florida State, Chipola College, Tallahassee Community College and a number of industry and private sector firms and organizations collaborate closely in completing the project.

The project, started in June 2013, is one of a number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiatives underway at the College of Communication and Information.

The FSU Information Institute is a research center within the university’s School of Information and has conducted an extensive number of externally funded projects in areas such as planning and evaluation of digital services; high speed broadband telecommunications deployment and use; rural broadband use and economic development; program evaluation; digital learning; and the role of public libraries and the Internet.

Broadband Pathways is a website dedicated to the collaborative project,  Assessing Information Technology Educational Pathways that Promote Deployment and Use of Rural Broadband. See the project abstract.