A private career college in Ottawa will be training new workers and adding to its infrastructure under a newly announced partnership with California-based network security company Fortinet.
Rima Aristocrat is the president and CEO of Willis College.
By Jacob Serebrin
The partnership will see Willis College, which specializes in training students in business, technology and healthcare, launch a new program in network security that’s developed in conjunction with the company.
“They need to hire 250 people,” said Rima Aristocrat, the college’s president and CEO. “But they couldn’t find anybody that had these kind of skills.”
The partnership will also see Fortinet invest almost $1 million to build new labs and classrooms at the school.
“It’s a substantial private sector investment into a private career college,” said Ms. Aristocrat. She said that while that sort of investment is unusual, she hopes it will set an example and lead to more partnerships between private colleges and industry.
“Public education moves slowly,” said Ms. Aristocrat. Because Willis College is a private for-profit business “we have to be proactive,” she said.
Fortinet will take an active role in selecting the students for the new program and Ms. Aristocrat said entry to the program will involve a “tough screening.”
Willis College has had a partnership with Fortinet for the past four years and the company has hired 40 graduates of the school. Ms. Aristocrat said that the strong performance of the Willis graduates led Fortinet to consider the school for the new program.
The new program will have two streams: a part-time program for people with some experience in the field and a year-long full-time program for people with no experience.