Minnesota State IT Center

Engage Industry, Inspire Students, And Enhance It Education




The Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence

Colleges and universities are an essential part of the innovation ecosystem in Minnesota. The Minnesota State IT Center of Excellence (MNITCoE) is one of eight industry-focused Centers of Excellence that are part of the Minnesota State system of 37 colleges and universities.

Our mission is to engage industry, inspire students, and enhance IT education at all levels to build a more robust technology workforce in Minnesota.


Engaging Industry: Leveraging Partnerships

In the technology industry, we all share the objective of growing our next generation of talent and increasing gender and ethnic diversity in the IT workplace.

The MNITCoE collaborates with industry to ensure all students are provided technical, nontechnical, and hands-on learning experiences that address the dynamic talent needs of employers by

  • Connecting students with industry for internships, mentoring, and job shadowing
  • Co-sponsoring hands-on learning experiences in computing, cybersecurity, data science, and software development
  • Hosting national competitions and awards like the Aspirations in Computing Award and the Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition

Inspiring Students: Developing the Innovation Leaders of Tomorrow

To build the IT workforce of the future, it is essential to encourage and support K-12 students to explore, experience, and enjoy technology learning.

Inspiration and empowerment naturally occur as students engage with peers, educators, IT professionals and employers; all who share a common passion and interest to innovate and collaborate.


Here are some of the partner-driven programs offered to do just that:The Minnesota Aspirations in Computing Program seeks to inspire, engage, and empower young women in grades 9-12 to pursue a technology education and career path.

More than 100 young women each year are recognized statewide or nationally for their computing and technology accomplishments.

Participants also gain in-demand technology skills through SPARCS (Sustaining Passion, Ambition, and Resolve for Career Success) events and engage with Minnesota companies through job shadow experiences and summer paid internships.

Tech IT Out! Minnesota matches IT professionals from industry partners with middle and high school classrooms to deliver an interactive presentation about technology careers.

For many, this is the first opportunity for young people to discover what opportunities exist for them in the IT world.


IT Exploration is a free, one-semester, hands-on IT curriculum provided to high school and middle school teachers.

The course is designed to introduce students to topics like networking, cybersecurity, data analytics, software development, and game design.

PowerUp IT is a program in Minneapolis and St. Paul high schools designed to expose students to IT professionals of color.

They are mentored and guided to avail themselves of technology programs within the school and in the broader community to build their technical confidence and competence.

The IT Discovery Network was established in 2014 as a network of organizations that share the common mission of ensuring that youth are exposed to a broad array of technology learning experiences and caring adults. Collaboration ensures the maximum impact for all.


Through Hands-On Learning and Practice events, college students are given opportunities outside the classroom to put skills into practice and also gain an edge for future job searches.

Students also get real-world experience and training they need to seek industry-leading certifications.

Boot camps for hands-on learning

– Cybersecurity Student Boot Camp
– Data Science Student Boot Camp

National and Regional Competitions

– The Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC)
– Data Derby Data Analytics Competition

Enhancing Education: Quality Programs and Hands-On Learning

The MNITCoE serves as a catalyst and coordinator for multiple collaborative Program and Curriculum Module development projects, bringing together industry experts and faculty from across the Minnesota State System.


The result is an emerging base of modules faculty can use in their courses that align with standards and incorporate innovative learning technologies and best practices.

  • Cybersecurity and Data Science Curriculum Modules
  • Agile Software Development Curriculum Modules
  • Career Readiness Modules and Badges

The MNITCoE provides Faculty Training and Development opportunities for faculty to stay ahead of key industry tools and trends.

Each year we host the New Directions in IT Education Conference which brings together faculty and industry to share knowledge and best practices.

Student and Faculty Research is emerging as a high-impact practice that enhances student engagement and success.

To this end, the MNITCoE has partnered with faculty and the Twin Cities chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to launch and support two Academic Conferences in Cybersecurity (CIACAM) and Data Science (CADSCOM).


Other INNOVATE® Ecosystems