FHSU forms partnership with top IT company

FHSU University Relations and Marketing

By Diane Gasper-O’Brien

HAYS, Kan. — Past efforts to partner with institutions of higher learning hadn’t proven all that successful for Centriq Training, Kansas City’s leader in information technology education and training.

But there was something about Fort Hays State University that struck a chord with Kevin Grawe when he and Dennis King, director of FHSU’s Virtual College and Learning Technologies, met following a military fair in 2014.

That led to an articulation agreement between the two entities, and both think it can be a win-win situation as the partnership kicks off this fall.

Professionals who take Centriq classes to become certified in information technology now can direct those classes toward college credit through FHSU’s Virtual College.

“There are a lot of changes going on in education,” said Grawe, president of Centriq, which is located in the Kansas City suburb of Leawood. “We’re excited about this opportunity. It’s good of Fort Hays State to help solve issues with the job skills with companies like us.”

The plan includes multiple tracks, ranging from certificates all the way to a master’s degree. FHSU will offer college credit for online training that aligns with Fort Hays State coursework. This credit may fit into the information networking degree tracks at the associate level or for the Bachelor of General Studies, as well as the Bachelor of Business Administration in management information systems and the Master of Professional Studies in informatics.

This could help expand IT options for FHSU students and alumni by connecting them with discounted Centriq training and certification not offered by Fort Hays State.

One of the goals in the memorandum of understanding between FHSU and Centriq is to promote IT careers among potential students. “This will reinforce the importance of the IT industry,” King said.

King and Grawe ran across one another at an education fair at Fort Riley in 2014. “We just started talking and decided to pursue this,” King said. “That’s a great example of networking.”

FHSU has other partnerships with businesses, King said. “This is not new, but a new content area for us.”

Fort Hays State’s Virtual College has been ranked nationally as one of the top online education programs in the country. Grawe thinks joining one of the best in IT training organizations and one of the best in distance learning partnering through online training will be especially beneficial to professionals taking Centriq classes who never completed their college degrees.

“They can start with a class with us, and get college credit for it,” he said. “I’ve been very impressed with the way Fort Hays State has figured out a way to extend the learning to other areas. We’re very excited to work with Dennis and the team at Fort Hays State.”

“We will make the sure the outcomes align in such a way to go toward their degree,” said Melissa Hunsicker-Walburn, chair of the Informatics Department. “That’s a huge benefit to them, and that fits our demographic quite nicely. And with Centriq being in Kansas City, we still have a good deal of brand recognition.”

FHSU alumni also will be able to take Centriq’s corporate courses at a discount.
More information about degree requirements for the FHSU/Centriq partnership can be found online, FHSU Virtual College/Centriq.

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