Obama’s Free Community College Proposal and IoT Training

An article in Xconomy speculates that Obama’s goals of free Community College education could be a bonanza for educational technology companies.

“Education watchers and politicos have been debating about that proposal from President Obama since he announced it early this year. Is it worth the estimated $60 billion that would be spent over 10 years by the federal government?”

Pearson Education has a workforce education unit that develops courses to help community college students prepare for exams that lead to industry-created credentials, like those offered by NCCER, a non-profit educational foundation supported by the building construction industry. The building construction industry should be looking at rehabilitating old buildings using IoT to monitor, control and optimize resource consumption and obviously plan how to incorporate more efficient resource management into new construction.

It is our belief that over next couple of decades applying IoT to solving climate issues will turn out financially cheaper than using fossil fuels, especially if you include the cost of externalities (e.g. pollution, explosions, hazardous spills). Thus, we feel that money spent on educating a new work force to apply IoT will prove to be a sound investment. We also think that the trickle up effect of more employment within productive sectors that will emerge, also will address income inequality and grow the economy to the benefit of all.

A small step for community colleges – a giant leap for new skill development

What if, as a first step, community colleges were to simply make more use of empty classrooms? From around 2002 to 2006, I ran the Ann Arbor Java Users Group and we always had our meetings at Washtenaw Community College. There was never a charge to use classroom space equipped with a projector. The assumption was that taxpayers had already paid for the facilities and the mere presence of the user group helped WCC to recruit students and maintain a great reputation in the larger community. I moved back to my home town of NYC in 2009 and was surprised to discover how difficult it is to find space for programmer user groups. If Community Colleges simply made space for technical meetups, e.g. programmer user groups, that would go a long way towards producing some very positive change.