Texas State addresses workforce development needs with data science course


SOURCE: NEWS.TXSTATE.EDU
FEB 11, 2022

Texas State University has received $1.5 million from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) to develop a new data science credential program offered in partnership with Sam Houston State University.

Multiple industries in Texas and across the United States are seeking to expand their data science workforce, but qualified applicants are in short supply and high demand.

As the Great Resignation continues, workers may find themselves looking for new opportunities. Research shows certifications improve job opportunities and salaries – especially in high-paying, high-demand fields such as tech and healthcare.

And it’s not just those industries that need data science and data analytics support. The pandemic required people from a range of professions like journalism and education to interact with and interpret COVID-19 data every day.

"Learning data science skills through this platform will help Texas achieve its goal of developing a resilient workforce," said Melinda Villagran, executive director for the Translational Health Research Center at Texas State. "Through data science, we will be able to improve healthcare delivery, support small businesses and a range of other industries hit hard by the pandemic."

The new program is funded by the governor’s Emergency Educational Relief Funding under the Accelerating Credentials of Purposes and Value Grant Program to meet the needs of the fast-growing Texas economy.

The first course, launching in September, consists of 10 blocks of instruction leading up to an associate big data Analyst (ABDA) certificate issued by participating universities. Following the course, students will be prepared to pursue the professional ABDA certificate from the Data Science Council of America.

As the program grows, additional data science courses are planned, with the expectation that additional universities in the Texas State University System will begin offering the credentials.

Courses will be developed by a group of more than 20 Ph.D. faculty members across disciplines working in collaboration with the program’s advisory board of chambers of commerce and local companies in the area. The advisory board will provide direction about the ongoing and changing needs of the workforce to make sure the courses offered meet the needs of the business community.

"Long term, I want this to be the go-to certification platform for the Texas State University System – providing high-quality, industry-leading certifications of value for a low price,” said Larry Fulton, leader of the new data science program at Texas State.