TCC's Technology Certification Center Proves Timely – and an Overwhelming Success

“The opening of Tacoma Community College’s Technology Certification Center at Tacoma Mall, has been an overwhelming success, according to director Steven Ellis. The center, created to meet a growing demand for skilled high-tech workers in Pierce County was opened recently by Governor Gary Locke. With high-tech companies and dotcom startups sprouting throughout Tacoma, the need for certified high-tech workers has risen, Ellis said, and thus far, TCC’s classes are rapidly filling to capacity.The new TCC facility hosts a Microsoft authorized Academic Training Program and is certified as a Cisco local Training Academy. Currently, the center is hosting A+ Certified Service Technician and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer classes, both at capacity. The center offers both the training needed to prepare for certification, as well as the actual testing for certification, on-site.This is a dedicated high-tech certification testing center, Ellis said.The facility is still hiring staff, a job Ellis noted, that is tough in the hot technology workplace in the Puget Sound region.Classes will run in summer quarter as well, with a Cisco and possibly a Linux and Web certification course starting for fall quarter, Ellis said. But potential students may have to wait for some of the popular courses.We have a list of 300 people who want in our classes, Ellis said. For fall, we only have two openings.TCC continues to run additional high-tech courses on other campuses in addition to the new center at the mall, Ellis said. He said the need for staff is so tight that once-competitive community colleges now often cooperate in sharing faculty for high-tech courses.Ellis said the center is trying to open up more course sections to cover the obvious need for high-tech training. The center will also be looking into facilitating a job placement program for those who obtain their training and pass their certification tests at TCC.TCC’s new tech center fits well with the college’s mission and its location is more suitable than a former location inside the mall proper, Ellis said. Outside entry to the center at 4502 South Steele, Suite 395, between the Bon Marche and Sears, allows classes to extend beyond mall hours, and reduces student distractions.Costs for certification programs range from $1,200 for the A+ Certified Service Technician training to $4,300 for the MCSE program. Program graduates will receive nationally recognized proof of their technical achievements.Ellis said the center was made possible by a partnership with the Tacoma Mall, which had expressed a desire to offer educational opportunities at the retail location.For information on the center’s programs, contact Rich Costanzo or Sandra Nelson at 253-851-2424.”