BURNSVILLE, Minn. - Cindy Drahos peaks over the shoulders of her students at Burnsville High School as they work on their computer settings.
She's helping, but not instructing today. That job belongs to Mayfield Fayose of Inver Hills Community College.
He's at the school in partnership with Advance IT Minnesota, an initiative with MnScu, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, to partner with businesses and schools to bring more students into the information technology pipeline.
"In today's world, nearly every profession that we have has technology at its center," explained Russell Fraenkell, Minnesota Director of Collaborative Programs and Outreach at Advance IT.
He recruited Drahos to help beta test new curriculum Advance IT hopes to roll out to high schools and even middle schools in the state.
It was developed with the help of college instructors like Fayose, who will help teach it to Burnsville High School students.
Drahos says it's given her students a chance to stretch their imaginations and their skills. "They're doing things they never thought they could do before," she said.
That includes learning about security systems, app development, programming and more.
Driving the push to give students greater exposure to information technology is employers.
"Right now they are coming, knocking on our door saying, 'Do you have the students who have the passion for the IT world?'" Drahos said.
Drahos' students will travel to Inver Hills Community College to get more hands on work with computers later in the term. Drahos hopes the experience and the new curriculum will give her students greater insight into how they might turn that knowledge into a career.
"This is the next step for them to realize they can do this," said Drahos. "They can understand this curriculum and make it at the next level."