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Clinton and Verizon NextStep

Clinton Community College has been a Verizon NextStep training facility since 2005. NextStep is a company sponsored training program that allows employees the opportunity to earn a two-year telecommunications degree by attending school one workday per week over a four-year, eight-semester period. Students come to Clinton from as far away as Watertown to the west and Albany to the south.

We graduate our second class this May and start the third group in the fall with each class growing in size. I believe the growth is directly attributable to our reputation as a good school. Our first formal review occurred in 2009 with the outcome, according to the coordinators of the entire program, identifying Clinton as a top training provider.

Verizon sponsors two events per year for all faculty members who teach within the NextStep program. The events are referred to as Faculty Institutes and they are academic conferences that allow faculty to discuss curriculum issues and attend workshops. The institutes occur in January and June each year. The June event is the larger of the two, with all faculty members, while in January the attendees are mostly faculty who teach digital or telecom courses and the program coordinators from each college.

Last week, I attended the January event in Bedford, Mass. Having responsibility for both digital and telecom courses I always have to decide which curriculum group to join during the different sessions. Luckily, the program coordinator at Clinton attends every institute and often monitors the sessions I cannot attend. The main focus of telecom workshops this year was video over IP, which I was happy to see because the NextStep curriculum has gravitated toward extensive coverage of both voice and video over IP. It's also personally interesting as I consider switching entirely to television programming delivered via the Internet.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in computer repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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