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Northwestern State aims to enroll 500 in its computer information systems major

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Northwestern State University
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Northwestern State University is expanding its computer information systems or CIS program through a $2.5 million grant to cultivate a trained workforce for CSC. The Virginia-based tech firm is setting up an integrated technology center in Bossier City next to the Cyber Innovation Center.

The grant is a decade-long cooperative endeavor agreement with Louisiana’s Department of Economic Development to raise enrollment within the NSU program to 500 students. CIS program coordinator Curtis Penrod says there are now 212 students enrolled in the major. He says CSC is working closely with NSU, but a guaranteed job is not part of the deal.

“We’re going to be working with them having their experts look at our curriculum and see where are we meeting their needs and where can we improve? What do we need to change? What makes sense for our students? There’s going to be ongoing communication,” Penrod said.

Penrod aims to schedule monthly meetings with CSC. He says its recruiters have visited the Natchitoches campus twice this fall conducting interviews for full-time jobs and internships. CSC’s facility in the Cyber Research Park will focus on cloud computing, cyber security and software development. Penrod says it’s difficult to get prospective students to view the CIS major beyond programming.

“There are high expectations. Even though this is quite a bit of money, it is going to be a challenge to get to those students and let everybody know about these career opportunities,” Penrod said.

CSC says it has about 70,000 employees and reported revenue of $11.7 billion for the 12 months ending July 3. The firm announced last year it would create 800 jobs in Bossier City by 2018. It is also collaborating with Louisiana Tech University on a workforce pipeline.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' experience to Red River Radio having started out as a radio news reporter and moving into television journalism as a newsmagazine producer / host, talk-show moderator, programming director and managing producer and news director / anchor for commercial, public broadcasting and educational television. He has more recently worked in advertising, marketing and public relations as a writer, video producer and media consultant. In pursuit of higher learning, Chuck studied Mass Communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.