Industry Partnership Between SilverTech and New Hampshire Technical Institute Gets Recent College Graduates Ready for the Job on Day One
Just a few weeks after graduation, students at NHTI – Concord’s Community College may soon be earning their very first paycheck and diving right into client work.
SilverTech and NHTI have created a new career path in New Hampshire’s tech industry through a carefully designed, industry-sponsored capstone project that has helped many students graduating with an associate degree in computer engineering immediately begin their career. Several students at NHTI will complete their senior project at SilverTech, a digital marketing agency headquartered in Manchester.
The partnership with SilverTech is a great example of what New Hampshire’s Sector Partner Initiative (SPI) aims to foster between companies looking to grow the skills and education of their current and future workforce, and colleges such as NHTI, who provide focused training that will lead to an upskilled workforce.
Capstone projects at NHTI are developed between the students and an industry partner and must include meaningful, project-based work. Students are typically seniors and often get hired by the industry partner they work with on the capstone project. Once the project has been reviewed and approved by NHTI, students are expected to work on site on Fridays and during the week over the semester to complete the project.
“We want our students to get experience developing something meaningful to our industry partners, including conceiving, designing and testing from an engineering perspective. It really requires a commitment on the part of the company to come up with a project and supervise them during the semester and SilverTech has a great system in place,” said Frank Polito, NHTI professor and department head of Electronic and Computer Engineering Technology and Game Programming.
SilverTech has been running the program for five years and has hired six students once they have graduated. Many students end up continuing their education at UNH Manchester and earning a four-year degree in computer science while continuing to work at SilverTech.
“Students are well prepared by NHTI and have C-Sharp programming SQL database experience, and some HTML and web work experience as well,” said Derek Barka, Chief Technology Officer at SilverTech and SPI Tech Sector Champion. “Our engineers and staff look to build off those skills and will help the students develop a work plan for their project, familiarize them with the systems we use and work closely with them during the process to make sure they stay on track and successfully complete their project.”
According to NHTI’s Polito, there are two primary goals for their students who are completing the two-year degree: preparing them for a junior year in a four-year program and preparing them to be ready for a job. This includes hands-on work and the senior project is a key part.
“This program offers a fantastic, professional opportunity that often leads to great jobs in New Hampshire,” Polito said. “In addition, it provides a great pathway for students interested in pursuing a four-year degree.”
This collaboration is a shining example of the initiatives and outcomes New Hampshire’s Sector Partnerships Initiative encourages by helping to develop similar partnerships to address the state’s workforce shortages and gaps. Through SPI, we want to showcase effective partnerships just like this one, since it’s a model that can easily be replicated across the state.
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