Illinois Adds Curriculum To Smart State Plans


Illinois has announced a new educational partnership to further its “Smart State” initiative. Illinois and the IoT Talent Consortium (IoTTC) will work together to develop a curriculum for individuals interested in working in the IT industry, beginning with data analytics.

State officials say that by 2018, industry analysts predict that there will be a shortage of 1.5 million people with the necessary skills to analyze and use big data, in addition to 1 million job openings for cybersecurity. Illinois is trying to change that by developing its smart state initiative, which is a combination of job training, state programs and enticements for technology companies to come to Illinois.

The IoTTC curriculum will be based on the Microsoft Professional Program for data scientists.

Graduates from the data science track of the Microsoft Professional Program must successfully master eight core data science skills. Students apply these skills in a final capstone project that requires them to explore and cleanse a dataset, build a machine learning model to analyze the data, and publish it as a web service that will be tested and scored to determine the accuracy of the model.

There are 9 courses in the full curriculum. The self-paced program takes approximately 16-32 hours per course to complete, with each course costing $49-99.

In addition to the curriculum, Illinois will also provide a 50 percent scholarship toward the data science courses for the first 500 qualified registrants. The state will also sponsor the curriculum for minimum security inmates to increase their odds of employment after release.

Members of the IoTTC include Cisco, General Electric, Global Knowledge, Rockwell Automation, Microsoft, MIT Sloan School of Management, Pearson Workforce Readiness, New York Academy of Sciences, the State of Illinois, and workforce management consultant IQNavigator.

More details on the curriculum are available here.