Dataseam expands apprenticeship program for Kentucky students
By Haley Cawthon – Reporter, Louisville Business First, December 23, 2021
A Louisville-based tech company is expanding its efforts to grow and improve IT workforce through newly-awarded funds from the federal Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
Dataseam received $1.5 million to further expand its U.S. Department of Labor-approved Registered Apprenticeship in Information Technology program for high school students in the Eastern Kentucky region.
Implemented with guidance from the Kentucky Labor Cabinet and the Education and Workforce Cabinet, the two-year program includes paid IT jobs for students in participating school districts, hands-on coursework and on-the-job training and mentoring, according to a news release.
“We are excited to expand the IT Apprenticeship,” said Dataseam CEO Brian Gupton in the release. “Our project competed against 175 others from the 13 ARC states for total awards of $43.3 million. We are proud the Dataseam model for education and workforce development was assessed by subject matter experts at the federal level to be a good return on investment to fund these efforts.”
As many as 25 school districts in 20 Kentucky counties will have the opportunity to participate. The training will better prepare the students to further their education at the university level or seek out IT-based jobs in education, health care, local banking, and state and local government, the release continued. Approximately 45,000 students in the participating counties will have access to new technology as part of what the award will provide.
Dataseam’s award was one of six given in Kentucky totaling $5.5 million through the Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization Initiative (POWER). The POWER Initiative targets federal resources to help communities and regions affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries due to the changing economics of America’s energy production. Efforts include cultivating economic diversity, enhancing job training and re-employment opportunities, creating jobs in existing or new industries and attracting new sources of investment.
A goal of the apprenticeship program is to address Kentucky’s ongoing shortage of IT talent and the increased demands for such talent due to Covid-related remote work and instruction. Louisville Forward estimates that one-third of the workforce necessary to meet Louisville’s needs will come from Kentucky’s other 119 counties.
“These students will be the first of a pipeline created by Dataseam to meet not only the labor needs of Louisville but also the Commonwealth as a whole. Many of them could eventually be transplants to Louisville, coming here for college but staying for the opportunities our city provides,” said Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, chief of Louisville Forward, in the release.
Since 2005, Dataseam has improved classroom instruction and digital literacy in Kentucky schools and allowed increased employment for participants by providing training and industry-standard certification to participating Kentucky schools.
Dataseam operates the only Apple Authorized Training Center (AATC) in Kentucky. More than 8,000 educators have received training and school technology professionals now comprise the largest cohort of Apple OS engineers in the United States.
“The DOL Apprenticeship is the next step in taking what we have learned as part of workforce development in the Dataseam ecosystem and provide those successes to our next generation. Engaging apprentice candidates in a skilled trade earlier in life provides the option to enter the IT workforce immediately upon graduation from high school or seek further instruction at the university level,” said Dataseam COO Gena McCubbins, in the release.
The University of Louisville and Morehead State University identify and recruit students from its 48 Kentucky Dataseam-participating districts. Both institutions have funded separately the Dataseam Scholars program, providing four-year scholarships to students wishing to go into the STEM disciplines, including Information Technology.
“We have had great success recruiting students from Dataseam schools from across the state to our campus,” said Jenny Sawyer, University of Louisville’s Executive Director of Admissions, in the release. “Students completing this apprenticeship should be better prepared for computer science, engineering and other related fields we offer as well as more competitive for scholarships and other opportunities.”
(Frankfort, KY- October 2, 2019) – Representatives from Dataseam reported progress on Dataseam workforce initiatives to the Kentucky General Assembly Interim Joint Committee on Education. This economic and workforce development initiative not only supplies computers to Kentucky schools and conducts cancer drug discovery research, but also is providing industry-standard technology certifications, student apprentice opportunities and college scholarships as important education and workforce byproducts of this unique effort.
Dataseam CEO Brian Gupton pointed out in addition to 2,232 Apple workstations recently placed in Kentucky schools and increased capacity to run cancer research for the University of Louisville Brown Cancer Center, Dataseam is in the middle of an extensive industry certification program for school technology professionals. Morehead State University and the University of Louisville continue to recruit and provide STEM-based scholarships to students totaling over $2.5 million. Dataseam is working with participating schools to employ students in a U.S. Department of Labor Certified, Information Technology apprenticeship program. It is a first of its kind in Kentucky.
Parker Smith shared his professional journey as part of the Dataseam training initiatives that have culminated in his dream job as CIO of Williamsburg Independent Schools. “The industry certifications, professional networking and support, along with the opportunities to engage resources on a national level have helped this country boy from Clay County to do things I could not imagine,” said Smith.
Smith is an Apple Certified Support Professional, managing Dataseam technologies for research and education. As part of its workforce development efforts, Dataseam has trained and certified more Apple professionals, as a percentage of population, than any other state.
Paige Hart, currently a 3rd year medical school student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and former Dataseam Scholar, talked about coming full circle in her education and career. “I dream of the day that I have my full circle moment when I used Dataseam computers as a student in Caldwell County to the day as a physician I give information on the drugs produced by those same computers,” Hart said.
Blake McCullah, one of the current IT apprentices and Whitley County High School student testified about why the Dataseam program is different. “I worked and learned about computer repair, system maintenance and computer network issues. And since this was my first job, I had to open a back account,” said McCullah.
“We have reported in the past on cancer research made possible by the DataeamGrid, but today we provided context, reality and faces to the education and workforce outcomes of our efforts with our K-12 and university partners,” said Gupton, “The investments by University of Louisville and Morehead State; the industry-standard training and certification; the opportunity and employability for participants enhance the return on the state investment in the Dataseam program.”
Dataseam built and manages one of the most powerful high-performance computing environments in the world. Kentucky K-12 school districts and 3 universities across the state work with Dataseam to enhance education, research and economic development in Kentucky. https://www.kydataseam.com/about
Even when being used by students and teachers, the computers lend their computing power to the DataseamGrid which runs advanced cancer drug discovery efforts for the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center.
At the University of Louisville James Graham Brown Cancer Center, researchers and physician scientists work to create new and more effective approaches to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, delivering the most advanced treatments to cancer patients with compassion and respect. https://uoflbrowncancercenter.org
Whitley County High School students Samuel “Blake” McCullah, Connor Wilson, Morgan Mckiddy, and Hancock County High School student Casey Baize were honored by EWDC Deputy Secretary Josh Benton, Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester), and Representative Regina Huff (R-Williamsburg) for their participation in the Dataseam IT Support Specialist Apprenticeship Program.
The Dataseam IT Support Specialist Apprenticeship Program was created to help high school student gain hands-on work experience, earn professional certifications, and graduate with a better career focus. In the paid apprenticeship students will work along side experienced professionals to maintain, configure, install, repair and trouble shoot computer, network and software at the school.
This paid apprentice program is the first of its kind registered by the federal government and Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet for high school students.
Dataseam is uniquely qualified to help prepare the next generation of information technology specialist. The company collaborates with 38 school districts across Kentucky to manage one of the world’s larges computing clouds for research. Dataseam provides industry certifications and technical support to help school IT professionals better support and utilize education technology.
“Congratulations to Dataseam of Kentucky on the creation of a new information technology Registered Apprenticeship program,” EWDC SecretaryDerrick Ramsey said. “This program allows apprentices to earn on the job while receiving state of the art training in careers with excellent stability and growth potential.”
“Through this program, students will receive practical instruction, hands-on experience, mentoring. They will experience available career options in the field of Information Technology,” said Whitley County Superintendent John Siler. “Dataseam will supply our district with over $15,000 of computers to benefit all students. I am so appreciative of this opportunity to collaborate with Dataseam to increase opportunities for our students to gain real-life, hands-on experience leading to certifications and college credit for them while they are still in high school.”
“We are eager to add this IT Apprenticeship aspect to the existing statewide Dataseam ecosystem,” said Dataseam CEO, Brian Gupton. “Growing this segment of the Commonwealth’s future workforce helps to facilitate additional next-generation opportunity for more Kentuckians. Dataseam is proud of the partnerships working together to be a part of the solution.”
The Education and Workforce Development Cabinet acts as the governing body for Registered Apprenticeships in Kentucky, and provides technical and consultative services to employers. The “Kentucky Trained. Kentucky Built.” campaign was launched in 2016 to signal the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet’s commitment to strengthening and growing Registered Apprenticeships across the Commonwealth. For more information, visithttps://educationcabinet.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx.
Follow the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet on Facebookand Twitterfor all the latest updates. For more information about the cabinet, visit https://educationcabinet.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx.
Dataseam built and manages one of the most powerful cloud-based high performance computing environments in the world to benefit education, research and economic development in the state of Kentucky. Important cancer research is completed on a network of over 9,000 computers in 38 school districts. Participating School districts benefit from college scholarships, professional training and certifications, and student apprentice programs. For more information on how to get involved with this apprenticeship program, visit https://www.kydataseam.com/