The National Science Foundation recently awarded a $3,994,693 million grant to Collin College to enhance the work of the Convergence Technology Center and address the nation’s continually growing need for convergence technology specialists.


This five-year grant is the sixth Advanced Technology Education grant awarded to Collin College in the past 20 years and will emphasize information technology and cybersecurity.


“There is a critical national shortage of workers in IT and cybersecurity as evidenced by extremely low national unemployment in these fields,” Ann Beheler, Collin College executive director of Emerging Technology Grants and principal investigator of the National Convergence Technology Center, said. “Collin College is grateful to the NSF for their confidence in funding the CTC for another five years. I personally am honored and excited to continue leading this essential, student-centered, business-led effort collaborating with our exceptional partners.”


The CTC, housed at Collin College and founded in 2004, started with two original partners: the University of North Texas and El Centro College of the Dallas County Community College District. Today, six additional colleges and universities are partnering with Collin College in the national grant renewal including Florida State College Jacksonville, Fox Valley Technical College, Georgia State University, Lansing Community College, Lone Star College and Sinclair Community College.


Together, the partners will develop cutting-edge curriculum to address a major shift in IT due to the emergence of cloud computing, internet of things, and software-defined networks. Additionally, the center will continue providing professional development for faculty nationwide and best practices for recruiting and retaining underserved populations including women and Hispanic students. Further, the CTC will work with 90 high schools, community colleges, and universities to disseminate the program’s work nationally.


Another major emphasis of the new grant is developing strong regional hubs with business and industry leadership teams. Funding will support the development of seven regional IT hubs across the country with each hub serving as a collaboration between high schools, community colleges, and universities in close alignment with their individual BILTs.


Collin College is recognized as a national leader in the field of information technology and communications. The grant partners are guided by the national business and industry leadership team comprised of industry leaders interested in developing a workforce for these high-demand occupations.