In the growing Progress University Program, Progress has partnered with leading universities to provide practical experience for students and faculty alike.
The University of Massachusetts in Lowell is a national research university with a focus on preparing students for the real world through hands-on learning. That’s one reason they’ve been an ideal partner for the Progress University Program, a collaboration between universities and Progress to give students the experience they need to succeed in a professional world increasingly dominated by critical business applications.
Dr. Sandy Richtermeyer, Dean of the Manning School of Business at UMass Lowell, recently shared with us some of her feedback on how the program is working at her school. “I want students to have practical, hands-on experiences,” she said. While students today are familiar with technology because they grow up with it, they don’t know how it applies to a business setting, and “that’s why partnerships like [ours with Progress] are so important.”
Richtermeyer commented on the importance of covering solutions from a variety of angles. “Students need to see how these solutions work at organizations of various sizes, in different industries, and with different business models.” She went on to note, “Partnerships with organizations like Progress are critical in helping us develop coursework that teaches the student not only a complete way of using technology, but the foundations of how that technology or solution is developed. The marketplace needs people with solid technology and business training.”
The Progress University Program has been successful across a number of institutions so far. At our “Develop the Future” event in the fall of 2016, dozens of UMass Lowell students participated in a free, hands-on, on-campus workshop in which they learned to develop a business application with a mobile front-end. One student was so enthralled with the opportunity that he referred to the ability to learn how to build business applications on Progress OpenEdge as “addicting.” More than 40 students participated in the program at Tallinn Technical University in Estonia in 2016, and there are currently partnerships with the University of Michigan in Dearborn and Michigan Tech as well.
The next step is to create a three-pronged approach to developing university student talent in the workplace. As John Harlow, Vice President of Worldwide Professional Services at Progress, explains, “The IT industry in general is lacking in available resources. We wanted to take a more proactive and involved approach. Progress has the opportunity to train students around the world on OpenEdge. These students then become a valuable resource for our customers and partners as interns, coops and eventually full time employees. It’s a vision for a wonderful three-way partnership that benefits all.”
The Progress University Program helps computer science students understand the technology behind business applications and also helps connect Progress to the next generation of developers, ensuring that we continue to innovate and draw from the best new talent.
It’s a benefit for institutions too—talking about interdisciplinary activities, Richtermeyer calls the partnership “a leveraging point in looking at how we integrate with the sciences.” Faculty benefit too, forging a valuable link between industry and academia to help them stay aware of changes.
When asked what the relationship with Progress means from her perspective, Richtermeyer commented, “We appreciate the opportunity to work with Progress because it benefits the faculty, the institution and the students,” adding, “It’s very exciting.”
In the video below, you can see for yourself how programs like Progress University and Progress Academy are generating excited, motivated OpenEdge developers—helping students learn essential technology at a minimum cost to Progress customers and partners.
If you have a connection to a university in your area and/or would be interested in learning more about how the Progress University program might benefit your company, please contact Bruce Thompson, our Senior Manager of Education Services.
Tanya O’Connor is a former senior director of product marketing at Progress.
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