Dear Commons Community.
The Miami Herald reported yesterday that Miami Dade College is set to receive $15 million from a quartet of public and nonprofit entities to beef up its technology curriculum — and make artificial intelligence education available to all of its students.
The investment — $7 million from the Knight Foundation, $5 million from Miami-Dade County, $2 million from the City of Miami and $1 million from the Miami Downtown Development Authority — will be used to hire as many as 15 new faculty members with technology backgrounds that can satisfy surging enrollment in MDC’s School of Engineering and Technology. MDC is also launching MDCTECH, a web portal designed to serve as the hub for its tech efforts.
The announcement comes just a week after Miami and MDC announced the creation of a tech-focused high school that will be centered at the college’s Wolfson campus.The emphasis and financial commitment to technology education and training comes as the city grapples with its newfound focus as a tech center, a development that’s led to an unprecedented influx of professionals from California and other places. It has also exposed the city’s talent shortage and the need to expand the tech movement’s reach in local communities.
“There’s been a lot of talk about who Miami tech is for, and we want to highlight that there’s a trend here, that Miamians are seeking out these educational paths, career paths,” said Raul Moas, who recently took on new responsibilities as a senior director at Knight Foundation, in addition to his role as the Miami nonprofit’s program director. “We still have work to do to translate that into actual employment, but we see that Miamians are seeking out these opportunities. That’s an incredibly important part of the narrative.”
In addition to making an artificial intelligence course part of MDC’s core curriculum, the millions of dollars also will be used to establish a bachelor’s degree in applied artificial intelligence. MDC is building two AI centers, at its North and Wolfson campuses, to foster experiential learning and collaboration between industry and academia. They will join the college’s existing technology centers focused on animation and gaming, cloud computing and cybersecurity.“We have seen Miami and South Florida getting more investment, more startups, more venture capital, and what we now need is investment in our education system,” said Antonio Delgado, MDC’s vice president of innovation and technology partnerships, “so that we can create pathways for students and Miamians to participate.”
For the Knight Foundation, the $7 million donation represents the latest in what is now a total of $22 million invested in Miami tech and innovation in the past 12 months — following its $15 million commitment to Florida International University, the University of Miami, and Baptist Health South Florida — and $60 million in local tech investments over the past decade. Moas said the organization is responding to increased enrollment in tech programming it is seeing at these academic institutions.
“For us, it’s about meeting community demand,” Moas said. “More Miamianas than ever before are seeking out careers in tech, and we’re responding to that aspiration.”
Congratulations to Miami Dade College and its benefactors!