Now, there is good news for those that need to start on the first rung of the ladder. The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a grant to The Pikes Peak Community College Geography Department in August of 2009. This pilot program seeks to implement a Tiered Internship Model for Students in Geospatial Technology (TIMSGeoTech). Interns that have an interest in starting a geospatial career can participate in this program and create a network of contacts while gaining school credit.
The funding of $149,542 will sustain the program from this year through the summer 2011. Under-represented groups will benifet from TIMSGeoTech through outreach to workforce development offices, by providing resources to unemployed and underemployed individuals. The PPCC GIS Advisory Board, made up of Colorado industry professionals starting with Donna Arkowski, the PPCC Geography Department chair, and Dr. Irina Kopteva, principal investigator for the project and adjunct Geography and GIS instructor. The work is supported by Mary-Ann Wermers, dean of Health, Environmental, Natural & Physical Sciences; Jennifer Jirous, Colorado Community College System; Jason San Souci, executive vice president and chief operating officer of NCDC Imaging & Mapping; Richard Serby, president and owner of GeoSearch, Inc.; Jay Tilley, senior vice president and general manager of Sanborn, Inc.; Cynthia Pesek, director for Career and Technical Education at Academy School District 20; Patressa Gardner, South Carolina Advanced Technological Education (SC ATE) Center; and Dr. Phillip Davis, National Geospatial Technology (GeoTech) Center.
The results of TIMSGeoTech will provide many opportunities for programming students. There are always geospatial jobs for candidates using VB, Java, Python, html, xml, ESRI's map objects, and other programs that integrate provide digital map development, spatial data management, application development, data migration, and more. GIS is a rapidly changing and developing industry.
To step on the first rung of the ladder in this industry, a GIS certificate and AAS degree, along with a full retinue of GIS coursework is a great place to start.