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Hands on computer keyboardA partnership between the School of Computer Science and Rocket Innovation Studio will create a pipeline of top tech talent in the region.

Partnership to prepare students for high-demand tech jobs

The University of Windsor is partnering with Rocket Innovation Studio to create a pipeline of top tech talent in the region.

Rocket Innovation Studio, a downtown Windsor-based technology leader, will deliver a series of workshops beginning this month for students in the Master of Applied Computing (MAC) program. The workshops will focus on financial technology — shortened to fintech, a rapidly growing field in Ontario.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for our students,” said Ziad Kobti, director of UWindsor’s School of Computer Science. “We are creating a connection with the fintech industry. Rocket Innovation Studio is looking for tremendous talent, and we are training our students to match industry’s needs.”

The first of the four online workshops begins today: Friday, June 18. The for-credit workshops are mandatory for MAC students, but others in UWindsor’s computer science program can also enroll.

“With our growing presence in the Windsor tech community, Rocket Innovation Studio is playing a key role in preparing students for a successful future,” said Jasen Sams, the information technology company’s vice-president.

“Students will see real-life examples of the concepts they are learning in the classroom and experience first-hand how technology can improve experiences for consumers across North America.”

Rocket Innovation Studio opened in 2019, contributing to Windsor’s downtown revitalization when it moved into the former Fish Market building on Chatham Street. The company provides tech solutions to the businesses it serves, including back-end and front-end development, data science, and product development.

Rocket Innovation Studio is a member of Rocket Companies and serves the tech needs of other fintech enterprises on the Rocket Companies platform. These include Rocket Mortgage — the largest mortgage lender in the United States — along with real estate brokerage Rocket Homes and online vehicle sales company Rocket Auto.

The partnership with Rocket is important, said dean of science Chris Houser, whose faculty houses the School of Computer Science. “This provides an exciting opportunity for our students and supports economic growth and diversification of the Windsor-Essex region.”

The UWindsor School of Computer Science has been cited by Maclean’s magazine as one of the top computer programs in the country. The University’s MAC program has also been named one of the best computer science programs in Canada, attracting students from around the world.

The program, which offers a specialization in artificial intelligence, helps address a national shortage of skilled workers in computing and data science. It also offers paid internships of four to eight months. More than 94 per cent of students in the program earn paid internships and 100 per cent find employment upon graduation, Dr. Kobti said.

“This is an elite program that arms students with the advanced computing skills that are in demand by industry.”

Last year, UWindsor partnered with Blackberry on a 10-week online course. The mandatory course for MAC students was dubbed Blackberry Bootcamp and focused on cybersecurity.

“Our MAC students have a very high rate of finding permanent employment following graduation,” said Johanna Beneteau, business development co-ordinator in the UWindsor’s department of Co-operative Education and Workplace Partnerships. “These industry-partnership courses will only enhance that.”

—Sarah Sacheli