MoHealthWINs Data Center Lab Progressing at MCC-BT

It may not look like much now with bare drywall and no furniture, but MCC-Business & Technology is on its way to building an innovative learning experience with the new MoHealthWINs Data Center Lab.

The lab will feature a simulated production environment for students to get hands-on training in typical data center technologies, including networks, servers, storage, and security.  It will be able to support a minimum of 250 simultaneous logins so training will be accessible to students in participating community colleges across the state.

What truly sets the new IT lab apart from other computer labs is the virtual production environment.  Companies are reluctant to train workers directly on live systems for fear of losing irreplaceable customer data or harming costly equipment.  Yet training in production environments is more important than ever as technology continues to trend towards utilizing distributed or “cloud” storage to keep large amounts of data secure.  The MoHealthWINs program will make it possible for students to learn within a true production environment without the risks.  Even the students who access training remotely will benefit from the simulator, as IT personnel working in the field frequently perform server maintenance and functions off-site.

The facility is nearly completed.  MCC is partnering with IBM’s Academic Initiative program, which provides technical guidance as well as access to discounted equipment.  Mary Brown has been hired as the IT Instructor and curriculum designer for the Digital Literacy program.  She will start with the project in June.  Brown, along with other members of the MCC MoHealthWINs team, will work with Ozark Technical Community College, Mineral Area College, East Central College, Linn State Technical College, and St. Louis Community College to develop a common curriculum and stackable credentials.

The MoHealthWINs curriculum will feature unique components, including a Digital Literacy “on-ramp,” emphasis on healthcare, contextualized general education, as well as a clear educational path that leads to more advanced certifications in system administration, software development, and web design. Industry-standard certifications will be embedded in the programs to enhance students’ overall employability.

The MoHealthWINs Data Center Lab is targeted for completion in August, with courses scheduled to begin this fall.