With U.S. based companies continuing to invest in information technology, there is an increased need for a skilled workforce—a demand that will only grow as technology becomes synonymous with corporate America. Currently, many companies look overseas to fill STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs, but with a new emphasis on higher education’s connection to economic development, U.S. companies can create a long-term solution to their technology needs. Eagle Creek’s onshore model, coordinatedwith a new scholarship program at the University of South Dakota (USD), gives business control over their IT talent pool and IT needs.
“Foreign, or offshore, IT solutions are not adequately filling the needs of the U.S. market,” said Ken Behrendt, president of Eagle Creek Software Services. “Technical skills are only one piece of core IT competencies. Today’s IT reality requires an understanding of U.S. business practices, communications skills beyond technology and a focus on time-to-market. By better educating our workforce, Eagle Creek Software Services can create a more sustainable and scalable IT solution while growing jobs in America.”
Through a partnership with the Board of Regents and USD, the newly launched Information Technology Consultant Academy will provide eligible students with a scholarship and a strategic career track to employment as an IT consultant. USD students have two scholarship options: a certificate program for undergraduates and a master’s program. The South Dakota Board of Regents plans to approve the certificate program at its April Board meeting and discussions between Eagle Creek and the Board of Regents continue about a customized master’s degree.
“The challenges of today’s job market call for new skills and approaches,” said James W. Abbott, president of the University of South Dakota. “Our mission as a university should be to prepare students to succeed in an increasingly high-tech workforce. We applaud and are proud to partner with Eagle Creek on this innovative project. The Information Technology Consultant Academy will put students on a career path for success.”
The IT Consultant Academy at USD will create a well-trained local workforce in South Dakota who can take advantage of high paying jobs. Graduates of the certificate program can expect to make between $40,000-45,000. Students with a master’s may earn between $50,000-$60,000.
“This is a great day for South Dakota and the resurgent technology business in America,” said Gov. Dennis Daugaard. “With a $10 million investment in the Vermillion community and new career path for University of South Dakota students, we are on track to create meaningful jobs that will benefit the community and make South Dakota more globally competitive in the information technology sector.”
The city of Vermillion proved to be an ideal location for Eagle Creek’s South Dakota expansion.
“Vermillion is already known as a destination for world class higher education,” said Steve Howe of the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company. “This announcement further positions our city as a leader in technology and a global force in the IT industry. Vermillion is proud to be on the forefront of South Dakota’s technology surge.”
The undergraduate IT Consultant Academy certificate program consists of:
- 12 credit hours with a scholarship for full tuition and fees
- 3 month paid internship with Eagle Creek
- Job interview with Eagle Creek
- Scholarship for approximately 50 percent of tuition (in addition to paid internship)
The Master’s Degree program consists of:
- 2 year program ending with a Master’s Degree
- Job interview with Eagle Creek
- Scholarship for as much as $20,000
The USD Eagle Creek IT Consultant Academy will take its first full class this fall and the new technology center in Vermillion will be open in 2014. Individuals interested in applying for the IT Consultant Academy can do so at: www.usd.edu/cde/it.cfm
About Eagle Creek
With over 300 consultants, Eagle Creek Software Services is the largest U.S. based onshore software services company. The 14-year-old Minneapolis-based consulting company has focused on improving efficiency and quality, while managing price and risk, for its Fortune 2000 clients. This means investing in America, where Eagle Creek has become a leader in rural IT sourcing with technology centers already established in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota.