URI Providence Campus to open computer lab for business, industry, government training

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — March 8, 1999 — Qualified information technology employees are hard to find. Ask Marc Davis, president of UNICOM, a technology consulting company. The Providence-based company, which employs 200, provides custom technology solutions to business and education clients throughout New England. “We are not unique in looking for qualified entry-level personnel and seeking additional skill training for our employees,” says the executive. “It’s an industry-wide problem.” That problem is about to get some help, thanks to the University of Rhode Island and a $192,000 Rhode Island General Assembly grant. A computer lab for training business, industry, and government workers was dedicated on Tuesday, March 2 at 10 a.m. at the University’s Feinstein College of Continuing Education, 80 Washington St., Providence. URI Feinstein College of Continuing Education Dean Walter A. Crocker said: “The creation and support of this computer lab by the state legislature underlines the support that the state government is extending to area businesses. We at URI pledge that we will use these resources to help companies get the kind of technology training they need for their employees, thereby improving the Rhode Island economy.” The lab, located on the third floor of the URI building, has 20 computer work stations. The software allows instruction for basic to advanced computer skills. The lab also contains a laser printer, an animation station, a color and black and white laser printer, and a teacher station capable of viewing any student’s work. “We can offer generic courses such as Windows 95, Microsoft Office 97 (i.e. Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access); Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Pagemaker; Quark; Freehand; InfiniD; Bryce; C++; and Powerbuilder,” said Virginia Nardone, who heads URI’s Special Programs Office. “We can also tailor courses to meet the technological training needs of firms and businesses.” Next month, the college is launching a Multimedia Certificate Program in print and web design and/or video technology, according to Vince Petronio, lead programmer consultant who wrote the grant for the lab and oversees its technological operation. The print and web design workshops are for individuals involved in the production of newsletters, web pages and company brochures. The 83-hour course meets in the late afternoon or evening so that it doesn’t interfere with work. Students will receive an overall understanding of such software as Pagemaker, Photoshop, and Illustrator. The lab has already begun getting use. The Providence Tax Assessors Office became the lab’s first client when the group attended a class on Feb. 23.