Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College received a three-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, for connected technologies in business and smart homes.  The grant is an Applied Technological Education grant and will allow Gulf Coast to train technicians for both the residential and commercials fields. The grant will also focus on the recruitment of women and other underrepresented groups to Information Systems Technology programs at MGCCC.

The Connected Coast Initiative (CCI) will be led by principal investigator Robin Hayes, Data Analytics Technology instructor, and co-principal investigators Dr. Jamie Gruich, Computer Networking Technology instructor, and Brian Donegan, Construction Engineering Technology instructor.

“As homeowners and industries begin to implement connected technology solutions known as the Internet of Things (IoT), there is an ever-widening skills gap as technicians are needed to develop, modify, install, troubleshoot, and analyze data generated from these ever-evolving technologies,” said Hayes.  “IoT projects might include smart street lights, intelligent parking, inventory automation, security, lighting, etc.”

Hayes said IoT is all about connecting devices including appliances in your home or electrical grids and factory equipment at an industry level.

“The idea is that the more connected our devices are, the more efficient they’ll be,” she said. “With more devices connected to the internet, companies can gather more data and start automating processes that are time intensive or easy to forget. Imagine your car’s sensors connecting with your mechanic to schedule its next oil change.”

An IoT certificate program is being developed at Gulf Coast and is scheduled to begin fall 2021 at the Jefferson Davis Campus. The curriculum will be developed over the first year of the grant. The program will integrate multidiscipline courses from various programs, including Computer Programming, Data Analytics, Computer Networking, Cybersecurity, Construction Engineering, Electrical and HVAC.

“The IoT program will culminate in a capstone course that will allow students to apply the concepts and practices learned in their coursework to the development of a secure and reliable IoT product or system,” said Hayes.  “We are very excited about beginning the program and the opportunities it will offer our students.”

For more information on the new Internet of Things certificate program at Gulf Coast, contact Hayes at (228) 897-3744 or robin.hayes@mgccc.edu.

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