How one Utah career college is attracting top U.S. students by teaching the skills that top tech companies are looking for.
Neumont University in Sandy…Hmmm…Do they have a football team? Nope. Do they have a homecoming parade? Unhunh. Are they a Playboy party school? Ixnay.
It is small wonder that many area residents have not heard of Neumont. it has only 300 students, and 85 percent of these are from out of state. What attracts them is a passion for technology.
“A very specific student applies here,” said communications manager Stacy Hughes. “At age 12 or so they were in the basement networking computers…Our students know from very early in life that IT is what they want.”
The school, which opened in 2004, accommodates them by offering a highly innovative program. It was conceived ty three Utahns – Graham Doxey, Scott McKinley and Marlow Enlund – who wanted to create a better way to motivate students. For starters it does away with the traditional four-year program and substitutes 10 quarters over 2 1/2 years. “Classes run ffrom 8 am to 5 pm for 500 days, making it a full-time job that runs at the pace of industry,” Hughes said.
Neumont recognizes that technology managers must get ideas across by helping to put the speak in a geek. “Spoken Communications” is thus a required course, along with “Collaborative and Interpersonal Communications.” Freshmen take three courses together in 25 day intensive “sprints.” In the second year, student teams work up to four hours a day partnered with companies such as Oracle and Novell to identify and solve real life corporate problems.
“It serves as a 10-week interview process. Or graduates have a full portfolio of work and many are hired by the companies they partnered with,” Hughes said. She added that firms wait for up to six months to hire individuals. But the school is more than just a factory production line. There is a strong sense of community as well, said second year student Luna Chong. “Everyone here is really supportive. Once I needed help on a project at 2 am. I knocked on someone’s door in the dorm who I didn’t even know, and they helped me! I really like it here.”
Neumont grads most likely will never be on the sports pages. The business pages will suit them just fine.
– Tuition is $7,000 per quarter
– Bachelors degree programs offered in Business Technology Operations Management, computer Science, Software and Game Development, Web Design and Development.
– Masters degree program in Computer Science
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