We blogged in August about the plans of Indian outsourcing provider Wipro to locate a software development facility in metro Atlanta. With more details about the deal emerging, it sounds as if Wipro intends to be a good corporate citizen.
According to acj.com, Wipro will offer some employees at a call center in the new facility a chance to pursue engineering degrees. A company spokesman says it offers similar opportunities to workers in India. Wipro will work with two public universities, Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University, to develop a curriculum for these students.
Wipro is also is collaborating with the University of Georgia system to provide technical and other training for its employees. The company pays up to 40 percent of its employees' costs for continuing education.
New hires also will travel to India for three to six months of on-the-ground training. The acj.com story features two Americans employed by Wipro, both of whom speak highly of the orientation program. One of the two, a senior business- development manager, also lauds the company for its "thin management layer" and the camaraderie he enjoys with both peers and supervisors.
Wipro is close to announcing an exact location for the center and intends to hire the initial 200 employees within a year. Ultimately, the center will employ up to 1,000 workers.
Though there doubtless will be a variety of economic rewards associated with the center, the educational opportunities offered to employees may prove especially significant in light of a dwindling number of Americans with engineering degrees. Wipro isn't the only IT services provider that works with colleges and universities to develop courses relevant to the rapidly changing tech industry.
I recently interviewed Paul Kontogiorgis, the founder of IBM's Services Sciences, Management and Engineering IT Services Curriculum Program, who explains why Big Blue works with schools like Missouri State University, with which it recently developed a bachelor of science degree in IT Service Management:
The good news is that with this global shift to a services economy, the need for IT-related skills will be greater than ever. But the reality is that the nature of those IT-related jobs in the services economy is changing. There is an increasing requirement to apply technology, engineering and disciplined thinking and design to the people aspect of businesses. These are high-value skills beyond simple programming or system administration. Our primary motivation for developing the IT Service Management degree with Missouri State was to address this need -- and allow students to apply integrated business and technical skills both in the classroom and the workforce.