CDIS Director Says Tech Education Can Help Solve Labor Issues

Director of UW-Madison’s School of Computing, Data, and Information Sciences Says Technology Education Can Play a Key Role in Solving Workforce Challenges the state.

In a recent interview, CDIS founding director Tom Erickson highlighted related efforts ranging from providing more computer training for K-12 students to new master’s degree programs at the university. He also said the design process is underway for a new CDIS building being constructed in January 2023.

“If you think of Boston, where I was for many, many years, or San Francisco in the Bay Area, or Austin, Texas, universities partnered with states in ways that created these ecosystems of incredible development around technology,” he said. “It all starts with a place where people come together, come back and leave.”

UW-Madison announced plans in September for the $225 million building, which Erickson sees as a major part of creating a regional “tech hub” centered around Madison.

“We want this to be a physical center where people can come from across the state and come together and get involved in what’s going on, either as a student or as an industry on board,” said he declared.

Erickson said he spoke with Gov. Tony Evers in December about increasing K-12 computer science education in the state, noting it’s fundamental to improving workforce prospects. work. He says the entire UW system has a role to play in encouraging early education in growing technology fields.

He described an after-school program for fourth and fifth graders called Catapult, which stands for Computational Thinking, Programming, Logic and Technology. The university’s undergraduates help with the initiative, which teaches computer science concepts with a focus on creative applications.

“It’s something that can easily be scaled across the state, so we actually have some of our industry partners watching and saying, ‘How can we help you scale this? ? “”, Did he declare. “We can easily do that in partnership with other UW schools and other campuses like Marquette.”

Erickson also highlighted new professional master’s programs in data science and data engineering “in the hopper,” which will launch this fall if approved by the UW Board of Trustees. He said they will be designed for students “from all backgrounds,” highlighting the growing role these disciplines are playing in marketing, manufacturing, supply chain logistics and more.

“We will look to add more over time,” he said. “So we try to reach people at both ends of the spectrum. We call this concept CDIS Without Borders. Campus boundaries, we stretch beyond those boundaries – we really try to bring everyone in.

Listen to a recent podcast with Erickson here:

See a previous story on CDIS:

–By Alex Moe

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