October 22, 2008

Colorado Governor’s Office Urges High-School Students to Pursue Tech Education to Fill Vacant Jobs

In celebration of Cisco Networking Academy's 10th Anniversary, Governor Ritter's office held a press briefing today featuring the Colorado Community College System, the Colorado Department of Education, Westwood College and others. With more than 50 Front Range high-school students in attendance, Colorado's state Chief Information Officer Mike Locatis, remarked that Colorado still requires thousands of trained I.T. professionals to fill high-tech jobs in both the public and private sectors. Locatis encouraged students to pursue high-tech training such as the certified Cisco Networking Academy programs.

"Because of our nation's ongoing economic situation, many students are concerned about their future career prospects and are unaware of jobs still in-demand in Colorado and throughout the United States," said Natalie Williams, president, Westwood College, North. "The good news is that at the capitol today we heard from a distinguished group of speakers that I.T. is still a growing field and in Colorado there are thousands of available jobs. Cisco Networking Academy professionals in particular have extremely strong career prospects because of their hands-on training and in-depth studies within three years."

In a state that is recognized as one of the top states in the nation for information technology, speakers elaborated that today Colorado has nearly 2,300 job vacancies each day - a number that is projected to increase with retirements. Further, according to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, the number of network and computer systems administrators needed by 2015 will grow at an annual average rate of 4.2 percent, faster than the 2.7 percent growth rate for all occupations in Colorado. Today, there are approximately 1,235 students in Colorado currently enrolled in an official Cisco Networking Academy program, meaning that the need for qualified professionals is still great.

"You don't need to have a strong background in computers to pursue an I.T. degree and Cisco certification at Westwood College," said Derek Webb, a Westwood College alumnus who also discussed his career and experience with high-school students at the capitol today. "I was a construction worker and didn't even know how to run a basic Internet search before I enrolled in Westwood's I.T. program. Today I'm a systems administrator, which means I have more time with my family and my career opportunities are much better. Westwood gave me a quick turnaround on a change of careers."

To prepare the Networking Academy for the decade ahead, Cisco has launched innovative new curricula for its programs at Westwood College and other locations including Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA(R)) Discovery and CCNA Exploration, as well as a new version of I.T. Essentials called PC Hardware and Software, and updates to the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP(R)) curriculum. These new courses have been specifically designed to help students be more successful, whether they plan to be I.T. professionals or are simply seeking a deeper understanding of I.T.

About Westwood College

Westwood College, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is one of the largest private for-profit providers of post-secondary educational services in the United States. Westwood College has the mission to deliver career-focused education and services that prepare individuals to launch, enhance or change careers. Westwood operates in seventeen locations in six states, including California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Virginia and Texas. Westwood College Online operates nationally and was recently honored, for the second year in a row, with a top ten ranking of all U.S. online colleges by the Online Education Database. Westwood College, including Westwood College Online, recently became a candidate for regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The College has graduated and launched the careers of over 20,000 students. Accreditation: Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT).