Wyoming IT department to help develop certificate for state university

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Wyoming IT leaders will head back to school next January, after the state develops a new executive leadership certificate at the University of Wyoming.

State Chief Information Officer Bill Vajda’s office signed an agreement with the university last week to develop the course. This partnership will create an executive-level training and development program for state IT professionals “for the first time ever,” a recent news release claimed

The Department of Enterprise Technology Services plans to start designing the program with the university. First up is ensuring the courses that are part of the certificate align with the state’s training goals for its C-suite executives, said Donovan Alonzo, the agency’s chief of staff.

Ten people are scheduled to take the program in January, including Vajda and the chief information security officer (a position Vajda said he’s trying to fill), as well as leaders of the department’s operations, finance and communications teams.

“We’re pretty good at the technology areas, but leadership skills are where we’re looking to go,” Alonzo said.

Lesson topics could include strategic planning, he said, but could also focus on developing leadership styles and reviewing the ethics required in management positions.

The University of Wyoming’s business school houses the Center for Principle-Based Leadership and Ethics, which offers this kind of training. When Wyoming ETS found out the university already had the curriculum for an executive-level course, Alonzo said, it was a natural fit for the state to help launch the program.

The design process, which Vajda called an “investment for the future” during a signing event, is part of a larger effort to develop the state’s IT workforce, Alonzo said.

Though technical skills are important in high-level public IT positions, CIOs and other IT leaders are often tasked with drafting strategic plans and developing budgets, which require business and communications skills. For CIOs specifically, the job requires negotiation and building relationships, not just “bits and bytes,” Doug Robinson, executive director of the National Association of State CIOs, recently told StateScoop.

Other universities are also working on programs to round out understanding of IT, technology and analytics at executive levels. Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy recently announced a data and analytics certification for government leaders. That program is designed so managers can understand how analytics can inform operations and better incorporate it into their strategic planning and budgeting.

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University of Wyoming, Workforce development, Wyoming
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