Collaboration paves way to computer careers

Collaboration makes sense, especially when everyone has the same aim: Increase the number of well-qualified computer professionals in South Florida.

Last year, the Florida Board of Governors awarded Florida Atlantic University, Broward College and Palm Beach State College a $3.5-million state grant to create an accelerated pipeline for students pursuing computer science and computer engineering degrees. The FAU/BC/PBSC partnership was developed in response to the Board of Governors’ Targeted Educational Attainment (TEAm) grant program, part of an ambitious effort to align university and college degrees with the state’s future workforce needs.

With the grant, FAU, BC and PBSC created the Computer Accelerated Pipeline to Unlock Regional Excellence (CAPTURE) program. Beginning last fall, the program provides an innovative 2+2 curriculum that gives students a seamless path from their initial enrollment at Palm Beach State or Broward to graduation with a bachelor’s degree from FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

“The program stresses breadth, depth and flexibility,” said Palm Beach State College President Dennis Gallon. “Although all students will be required to satisfy core requirements, they will have the ability to choose tracks and electives in accordance with their needs and interests.”

More than 400 students will be drawn into the pipeline from the three institutions’ existing student bodies, as well as local companies and high schools. The program will keep students on track through a
system of shared advising and personalized “flight plans” designed to help them graduate and land a high-tech job.

The TEAm grant awards follow more than 18 months of work by the Commission on Florida Higher Education Access and Degree Attainment, a coalition of education, business and legislative leaders that identified the largest gaps between bachelor’s degree production and job needs.

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