July 14, 2022
More than 180 Missourians are now sharpening their digital skills thanks to a new initiative at the University of Missouri. Mizzou Engineering has partnered with MU Extension to create a Digital Transformation Consortium, a group comprised of academic and industry leaders who have developed online courses around today’s technology.
“The goal was to create a consortium that includes training so that working Missourians can go into digital or analytical domains,” said Sharan Srinivas, an assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering. “The courses allow people to reskill and pivot for different types of opportunities.”
Srinivas teaches Business Analytics, one of three courses currently being offered. In that class, students are learning to turn large, cumbersome data files into meaningful statistics using tools such as Excel and R software. Other courses are Introduction to Coding and Programming and Introduction to Geographical Information Systems and Geostatistical Analytics, which explores location-based big data.
Each self-paced course requires about 50-60 hours over a six-week span. Individuals who complete each course will receive a certificate, and those who complete all three classes will receive an MU Extension continuing education certificate in digital transformation.
“Research tells us that significant portions of the American workforce have limited or no digital skills,” said Rob Russell, MU Extension director of labor and workforce development. “Ensuring that workers have the necessary skills to compete in the 21st century has to be a priority to businesses in Missouri if they want to succeed.”
Companies can join the consortium to help with the development of future classes, Srinivas said.
“The plan is to add more courses and have more industries in the Midwest to get involved,” he said. “They can become a member of the consortium and guide us on workforce needs to develop courses tailored to specific industries.”
Funding for this initiative comes from a Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund grant through the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.