New Center of Excellence puts HCC on cutting edge of technology

May 12, 2016

Technology continues to transform the world around us at light speed and Houston Community College (HCC) is keeping up with the constant changes at the Digital and Information Technology Center of Excellence (COE).

“Our digital world drives everything we do. It shapes our actions, our lives, our thoughts, and our business and personal interactions,” said Dr. Doug Rowlett, COE director. “This Center of Excellence is poised to train our students to be the backbone of that digital world, the ones who keep it on track, fight off its attackers, and bring forth its surprising innovations.”

HCC Southwest President Dr. Madeline Burillo agrees and believes the 21st Century citizen must have the technological skills to keep up with the fast-paced changes.

“It is important we educate and train our students on how to interact with the changing world of technology,” said Dr. Burillo at the COE grand opening. “The fields we teach at the Digital and Information Technology Center of Excellence are important to our economy and relevant to employers.”

And relevant to Rafael Lozano, a Digital Gaming and Simulation student who, as a first generation college student from Honduras, knows his experience and education at HCC are invaluable.

“HCC has a lot of great programmers, a lot of great artists and each one has a lot to offer. I have been welcomed by everyone and it has been wonderful,” said Lozano.

Making use of modern technology, The Honorable Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18) participated in the celebration via phone from Washington, D.C. The U.S. Representative stepped out of a meeting to congratulate HCC on the grand opening and for being an institution on the cutting edge of technology.

Jackson Lee said, “This Digital and Information Technology Center of Excellence is crucial in developing the expertise and knowledge to give students the right road map for successful careers.”

HCC partners with industry leaders such as Microsoft Authorized IT Academy, the CISCO Academy, and Oracle Academy to ensure the programs offered are relevant and reflect the trends of the digital information technology era.

Programs offered at the Digital and Information Technology COE include:

• Cybersecurity

• Windows/Linux Server Administration

• Digital Gaming & Simulation Game Programmer

• Computer Science & Computer Information Systems

• Web/Mobile/Desktop Application Developer

• Network Administration

HCC is the only community college in the United States to have a partnership with JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) that provides HCC Network Administration graduates with apprenticeship opportunities. A $4.2M U.S. Department of Labor American Apprenticeship grant is funding this initiative.

“JPMorgan Chase is pleased to partner with HCC on this innovative apprenticeship program,” said Carolyn Watson, JPMorgan Chase Vice President of Corporate Responsibility. “The program will help JPMC get a new pipeline of talent into the firm for lifelong careers and provide families with sustainable wages.”

Umesh Verma, CEO of Blue Lance Inc., serves on the Center of Excellence Employer Advisory board and addressed the growing need to train cybersecurity professionals.

“From my vantage point, this is a very highly and timely need,” said Verma. “The fundamentals of conducting our lives in a digitally connected world really comes down to everybody and we have a responsibility to learn how to conduct our private and personal lives in a safe and secure manner.”

Members of the HCC Board of Trustees and HCC Foundation Board of Directors were in attendance and have been strong supporters of the Center of Excellence model.

“This COE is going to be very important, we are in a dynamic city, we have a dynamic institution and we are going to change a lot of lives,” said Robert Glaser, vice chair, HCC Board of Trustees, District V.

For more information about the Digital and Technology Center of Excellence, visit

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