Last January, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Dell Technologies and Intel announced a joint commitment to grow Intel’s AI for Workforce Program from 18 states to 50 by 2023. Rockland Community College was one of 15 colleges across the country to be awarded $40K for an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Incubator Network project. The funds will go towards building an AI incubator on the College’s main campus in Suffern, NY, for greater access to AI computing power, tools and resources, aiming to foster the skills needed for future jobs in our increasingly digital world.
In addition to receiving the grant, RCC has also joined the AI Incubator Network to connect with community colleges across the nation on strategic economic development opportunities, participate in discussions about learning pathways, strategize on student engagement in AI programs, and gather best practices from each other and industry leaders.
“AI has become an increasingly important focus for community colleges as providers of workforce education for multiple industries,” says Walter G. Bumphus, Ph.D., President and CEO, AACC. “Working together with peers and across sectors will enhance the ability of our colleges to advance and scale this curriculum across the nation to ensure that students earn the skills needed to fill these jobs and begin meaningful careers.”
“RCC is proud to be the first college in New York to participate in Intel Corporation’s AI for Workforce program,” says Dr. Susan Deer, RCC’s Officer in Charge. “Together with Dean of the School of STEM Dr. Melanie Rie, Professor of Cybersecurity Christopher Flatley and Professor of Math and Computer Science James Liporace, RCC is working to imbed the Intel AI Curriculum in our Cyber Security, Computer Information Systems and Computer Support Specialist programs.”
The incubator will have dedicated space in a new computer lab being dedicated to RCC’s Cyber Security and Computer Studies departments. It will house 15 student workstations in addition to an instructor workstation used for teaching and demonstrations. At first, the AI incubator will be used for students in the Introduction to AI course, which is currently under development as a Cyber Security and Computer Studies elective and will eventually be offered across disciplines. The incubator will also be available to students in other Cyber Security, Computer Information Systems, and Computer Support Specialist courses that will be updated to reflect the increasing reliance on AI throughout the industry. Development and implementation of higher-level AI courses, such as Natural Language Processing and Introduction to Machine Learning will follow, offering higher-level skills to students in the Computer Science degree program.
“Today’s students will enter a technology workforce where every organization will focus in some capacity on applying AI to solving problems and creating value for organizations,” says Carlos Contreras, Senior Director of AI and Digital Readiness at Intel. “We are excited to partner with the AACC and Dell Technologies to democratize AI technology and enable students at RCC to enter that workforce with AI experience.”
“Dell Technologies is committed to transforming 1 billion lives by 2030 by providing learning content for in-demand technology skills and creating artificial intelligence labs for teaching and learning at community and technical colleges across the US,” says Adrienne Garber, Senior Strategist, Higher Education, Dell Technologies. “With collaborators like RCC, we are creating opportunities for underrepresented populations in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and the like to enter careers and fill job openings in much-needed technology fields.”