One of the fastest growing occupations in the nation over the next 10 years will be computer support, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Area business leaders agree and have worked with Oakland Community College to develop a new training program to help meet the County's critical need for individuals trained in computer support. OCC’s PC Support Technician program is now being offered at the college's new Michigan Technical Education Center (M-TEC) on the Auburn Hills Campus.
Among those who helped the college design the new program were its M-TEC partners including DaimlerChrysler, EDS, IBM, Kelly Services, Kmart, Manpower and Oakland County Government.
According to OCC’s Carolyn Brown: "The current topsy-turvy state the economy demands that workers bring something more to the table to land entry-level positions if they are to set themselves apart from the competition." That’s just what the PC Support Technician program can do, providing students with significantly more than just the basic computer skills and base-line certifications.
"Elements that set this program apart and give those who complete it an edge are its emphasis on demonstrating competency and the variety of opportunities presented to trainees: specially designed workshops, job shadowing experiences and internships with M-TEC partners," Brown explains.
Strong problem-solving skills combined with excellent customer interface habits may well be the most important traits of a top-notch help desk or technical support professional, Brown adds. The focus on these two areas is an ongoing theme throughout the four program levels of OCC's PC Support Technician program.
Customer service is emphasized in the series of courses that include Customer Service for Information Technology: Listening and Communication Styles, The Service Professional Model, Handling Difficult Customer Situations, and Fact Finding and Problem Solving.
Learning the techniques to correctly solve and report problems gives trainees a proven methodology used to contain and fix problems at their root cause. Written reports are required throughout the program and build skill in effective, coherent written communications. "The skills presented in the program are mastered by practice and reinforcement. Our corporate partners have identified these abilities as essential to success in this profession," Brown says.
A self-paced and self-directed course of study requires that trainees integrate a complex set of components in order to achieve their career readiness goal. Brown notes that OCC "combines computer-based training modules, hands-on lab time and instructor led workshops in critical personal and professional skills" to give students a comprehensive and high quality educational experience.
An added advantage to OCC’s PC Support Technician training program is its highly flexible scheduling and its open entry and open exit design. Students work at their own pace, taking as much or as little time as they need to complete a particular level. This allows them to combine their training time with other responsibilities.
Information sessions are scheduled on a regular basis at the M-TEC building on OCC’s Auburn Hills Campus. To obtain more information or reserve a spot at an upcoming information session, call 248-232-4000.
OCC’s Business Technology Center
OCC's Business Technology Center (BTC) offers a wide variety of classes for working professionals. Individuals may enroll in classes offered at the Orchard Ridge Campus in Farmington Hills or the Auburn Hills Campus. In some cases, companies can also arrange for onsite employee training.
The BTC's offerings range from computer training to certified financial planning. Computer classes — in small classroom settings of 12 students or less — are offered at the Orchard Ridge Campus and include a suite of Microsoft programs:Word 2000 for word processing, Excel 2000 for spreadsheets, Access 2000 for databases, Power Point 2000 for presentations, Outlook 2000 for email, and FrontPage 2000 and HTML for web design. Students who enroll in these courses can also validate the skills they learn by taking and passing core or expert Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS) certification. MOUS certification is an officially recognized industry standard that measures employee skill levels.
At the Orchard Ridge and Auburn Hills locations, the BTC offers Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) training and is an Authorized Academic Training Program (AATP) with Microsoft. MCSE certification is highly technical — and in huge demand to meet the constantly growing need for systems engineers.
The BTC offers another unique training program for the financial planners who wish to become certified. The BTC's Certified Financial Planner program is licensed through the College for Financial Planning (CFP). Five required courses - all offered each semester - prepare students to take the CFP's certification exams.
Business and finance programs and seminars round out the offerings of the BTC.
For more information, contact OCC's Business Technology Center at 248-522-3618.