Dual Enrollment Digital Career Training in the Bahamas for a Post COVID Economy

Concurrent Session 5

Brief Abstract

Many countries are looking to advance the level of digital skills within their country as a way to diversify their economies and address what is perceived to be an emerging digital skills gap. This presentation will describle an innovative ICT dual enrollment program that includes more than 450 high school students earning college credit, industry certifications and a high school diploma during the same period. The intention is to provide the skills sets increasingly demanded by employers in the post-COVID economy.

Presenters

Dr. Robertson is the President of the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute. In 2016, Dr. Robertson was named a Fulbright Scholar by the US Department of State; an Emerging Leader in the America’s by Global Affairs Canada (2016) and he was awarded an Online Administrator Award (2011) by Pearson. He holds a Master of Studies in Public Policy Law (Vermont Law School); Master of Public Administration (Dalhousie University, Canada); Doctorate in Management and Organization (Stirling University, Scotland); Post Graduate Diploma (University of London, England); Graduate Diploma London School of Economics); and, Executive Certificate, Innovation and Strategy (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Dr. Robertson has more than twenty five years of experience leading award winning organizations in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. He has taught in Central Asia; Asia; Europe; North America and the Caribbean and is an invited speaker on topics ranging from strategic planning to online education and the future of work. Dr. Robertson has published more than 60 peer reviewed articles and books.

Extended Abstract

In The Bahamas, there has been a focus on the diversification of the primarily tourism-based economy. Specifically, The Government has recognized Freeport as the knowledge centre for the country and The Government has selected the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) as a partner in delivering technology training as a strategic initiative to build capacity in the workforce across the country. This training included an expansion of traditional diploma and associate IT programs with enhanced scholarship funds from the Ministry of Education, specific programmer training supported by The Government and Cisco, and an innovative dual enrollment ICT program. In particular, these initiatives are aimed at providing a focus on digital resiliency and digital inclusion to build back better for recovery post pandemic and Hurricane Dorian.

The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute launched an innovative three- year dual enrollment program for high school students in 2019. In the first summer 150 grade ten students were enrolled in five college level classes which included three industry certifications (Cisco). Initially, students were selected for the program using a competitive process to ensure that there was a sufficient level of IT skills for students to be successful in their studies. The ICT program was designed to continue through high school  to include fifteen college level credits and approximately ten industry certifications. 

This presentation will describe the Bahamas Dual Enrollment ICT program as a training initiative to enhance the increasingly important digital skills required throughout the country to address the post Hurricane Dorian and post COVID economy. The initiative also represents a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Rotary Clubs of the Bahamas.