April 26, 2023

An NMC Esports team member competesCertificates in computer support and cybersecurity specialization and Esports management will debut at NMC next year, offering students several additional paths to employment.

On Monday, NMC’s Board of Trustees approved the computer support specialist and cybersecurity specialist certificates. At one semester and one year to complete, respectively, both align with NMC’s strategic goal of offering future-focused education — more classes in shorter formats.

‘We’re giving students the opportunity to have quicker completion,” said Vice President for Educational Services Stephen Siciliano. Employers also seek a faster path to credentials.The computer support specialist certificate will reduce the time to earn a credential from nearly two years to one semester.

NMC CIT program studentsBoth certificates will help students find employment in Michigan’s strong IT industry — multiple IT careers are among Michigan’s hot 50 jobs with the best prospects through 2030.

The Esports certificate builds upon NMC’s success with varsity Esports teams, and puts NMC at the forefront of Esports as an academic discipline. The certificate is designed to feed into a bachelor’s degree in Esports production that Ferris State University launched last fall. Lake Michigan College starts an associate degree program this year.

“So many potential students or current students are gamers. This will be a different path for them, to take something they love doing and make it into a career,” said Terri Gustafson, NMC’s Esports director. NMC entered varsity Esports competition last year with two teams, and expanded to five this year. Nineteen students played varsity this semester, each earning a $500 scholarship per semester.

Students would potentially also receive six IT industry recognized certifications that employers value. These certifications were recently approved by the State of Michigan as a measurement for student completion.

The cybersecurity certificate creates another area of specialization for students, and allows them to begin working in the field after a year. Students could also choose to stack the certificates toward associate degrees.

“The demand for this is not going down. There’s a lot of potential for students,” Trustee Rachel Johnson said of cybersecurity, calling it one of the most expensive risks employers must manage.

Both CIT certificates use existing curriculum, meaning NMC incurs no additional costs. Gustafson said five new Esports courses are now in development and she expects the certificate to be offered in January 2024, at the same time as the CIT certificates. Job opportunities in Esports exist in marketing, accounting and graphic design, Gustafson said.