YSU Tech Challenge Offers Credentials to High School Students

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Now through the month of October, high school students who participate in the YSU Ohio Tech Day Challenge can earn credentials while building foundational skills for a career in IT.

Youngstown State University is a sponsor of Ohio Tech Day, a one-day event held Friday, presented by OhioX and Facebook. The event was designed to raise awareness to the role tech and innovation play in Ohio’s economy, and to inspire the next generation of tech leaders, according to the Ohio Tech Day website.

YSU introduced the YSU Ohio Tech Day Challenge, which tasked participants – high school students and anyone looking to pursue a career in IT – with completing at least one of a selection of online courses, said Jennifer Oddo, executive director of the Division for Workforce Education and Innovation at YSU. The courses provide foundational knowledge in programming, technology and cybersecurity.

Each course is an hour long. In addition to the YSU Ohio Tech Day Challenge badge, participants who complete each course will receive the corresponding course badge from either IBM or the Khan Academy.

Courses are free and include:

  • IBM Enterprise Design Thinking Practitioner
  • IBM Agile Explorer
  • IBM Explore Emerging Tech
  • IBM Cybersecurity Fundamentals
  • Khan Academy, What is Programming?

“We are asking students to come explore, spend an hour, get a credential and explore some of what tech is about,” Oddo said. “This is about raising awareness of the emerging tech field and the opportunities there.”

YSU graduates are “very much in demand. But more students will need to enter tech fields for jobs that are coming as employers like Ultium Cells LLC in Lordstown prepare to build their workforce. YSU’s goal is to provide pathways for anyone to get into the tech field, and having a basic digital literacy will be important for the future workforce to thrive,” Oddo said.

“Every company is a tech company. So learning these digital skills will be essential for other students in any pathway,” she said.

Through its InnovateOhio initiative, the DeWine Administration is making a push to ensure students graduate with in-demand tech credentials. In his keynote address during the virtual Ohio Tech Day event, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted discussed how the education and business sectors are working together to get students job ready.

“We’re literally paying bonuses to our high schools to graduate students in that space,” Husted said. “You have the ability with our own mind and talents to pursue your passions and change the world. That’s available right here in Ohio. You don’t have to leave our state to pursue those opportunities.”

To register for the YSU Ohio Tech Day Challenge, go to YSU.geniussis.com/registration.aspx.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.