WCC Awarded Grant for Artificial Intelligence Lab - Wayne Community College | Goldsboro, NC

WCC Awarded Grant for Artificial Intelligence Lab

July 12, 2022

Today, Wayne Community College (WCC) was awarded a $40,000 grant from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), Dell Technologies and Intel, as part of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Incubator Network Initiative.

The funds will go toward building an AI incubator on a virtual platform that will provide greater access to AI computing power, tools, and resources to foster the skills needed for future jobs.

A total of 15 community colleges across the country were selected based on criteria determined by AACC, Dell Technologies and Intel. WCC is the only recipient in North Carolina.

“I am thrilled for WCC to be able to partner with the American Association of Community Colleges, Intel, and Dell. This partnership will allow us to utilize their expertise in the field of artificial intelligence and to expand the learning and career opportunities for community college students,” said WCC President Patty Pfeiffer.

“There are currently more than 58,000 remote AI jobs with an average salary of $124,452, according to ZipRecruiter,” she said. “This kind of opportunity is life-changing for our current and potential students because it positively impacts our students’ futures and the futures of their families.”

“This opportunity also allows us to showcase our top-notch faculty who are dedicated to their profession and our students day in and day out,” said Pfeiffer. It was those faculty members who made WCC the second community college in the U.S. and the first in North Carolina to offer a two-year program that focuses on AI.

“There is significant demand for an AI-ready workforce. This grant will enable WCC to continue significant AI-workforce-readiness progress at a time when WCC’s AI training is gaining interest across the nation and internationally,” said Information Systems Technology Department Chair Glenn Royster.

“Our AI Engineer program and AI and Cloud Technologies program are 100% online. A significant strength of the program is that the core AI classes have live sessions that offer students real-time engagement with the instructor. The sessions are recorded for on demand viewing as well,” he said.

“Providing students access to virtual labs and other remote access resources means that no matter where on the planet the student is located, she can access industry-standard AI tools that complement the wide range of hands-on AI experience offered within the respective program,” said Royster.

“Students currently in the program have varied backgrounds. Some are recent high school graduates; some have completed graduate and postgraduate degrees; some students are full-time, but the majority are part-time who hold full-time jobs and are looking to transition themselves to the AI workforce or help transition their organization to an AI workplace,” he said.

In January 2022, AACC, Dell Technologies, and Intel announced a joint commitment to grow Intel’s AI for Workforce Program from 18 states to 50 by 2023.

The Intel AI for Workforce Program helps students gain critically needed job skills in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence. Intel provides training for faculty and course content. Dell Technologies supplies technical and infrastructure expertise on how best to configure colleges’ AI labs.

In addition to receiving the grant, Wayne Community College has joined the AI Incubator Network to connect with community colleges across the nation on strategic economic development opportunities, participate in discussions about learning pathways, strategize on student engagement in AI programs, and gather best practices from each other and industry leaders.

“AI has become an increasingly important focus for community colleges as providers of workforce education for multiple industries,” said AACC President and Chief Executive Officer Walter G. Bumphus. “Working together with peers and across sectors will enhance the ability of our colleges to advance and scale this curriculum across the nation to ensure that students earn the skills needed to fill these jobs and begin meaningful careers.”

Carlos Contreras, senior director of AI and digital readiness at Intel, agreed on the importance of preparing students for careers that will involve AI. “Today’s students will enter a technology workforce where every organization will focus in some capacity on applying AI to solving problems and creating value for organizations. Intel is excited to partner with the AACC and Dell Technologies to democratize AI technology and enable students to enter that workforce with AI experience.”

“Dell Technologies is committed to transforming 1 billion lives by 2030. By providing learning content for in-demand technology skills and creating artificial intelligence labs for teaching and learning at community and technical colleges across the U.S., we are moving closer to achieving that goal,” said Dell Technologies Senior Strategist for Higher Education Adrienne Garber. “With collaborators like Wayne Community College, we are creating opportunities for underrepresented populations in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data analytics and the like to enter careers and fill job openings in much-needed technology fields.”

To learn about WCC’s Artificial Intelligence Engineer program, go to www.waynecc.edu/programs/ai/ or contact AI Instructor Connor Beveridge at crbeveridge@www.waynecc.edu or 919-739-6890.

AI and Cloud Technologies program details can be found at www.waynecc.edu/programs/cloud-technology/. Emerging Technology Instructor Cynthia Kaye can be reached at ckkaye@www.waynecc.edu or 919-739-6876 to answer any questions.

About WCC
Wayne Community College is a public, learning-centered institution with an open-door admission policy located in Goldsboro, N.C. As it works to develop a highly skilled and competitive workforce, the college serves 10,000 individuals annually as well as businesses, industry, and community organizations with high quality, affordable, accessible learning opportunities, including more than 165 college credit programs. WCC’s mission is to meet the educational, training, and cultural needs of the communities it serves. Connect with WCC at waynecc.edu.

About AACC
As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for more than 10 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers, and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all. https://www.aacc.nche.edu/

About Intel
Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) is an industry leader, creating world-changing technology that enables global progress and enriches lives. Inspired by Moore’s Law, we continuously work to advance the design and manufacturing of semiconductors to help address our customers’ greatest challenges. By embedding intelligence in the cloud, network, edge and every kind of computing device, we unleash the potential of data to transform business and society for the better. To learn more about Intel’s innovations, go to newsroom.intel.com and intel.com. © Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

About Dell Technologies
Dell Technologies (NYSE:DELL) helps organizations and individuals build their digital future and transform how they work, live and play. The company provides customers with the industry’s broadest and most innovative technology and services portfolio for the data era.