Information Institute Presents a Paper and a Poster at TPRC42: 42nd Research Conference on Communication, Information, and Internet Policy

Florida State University’s Information Institute ( presented the preliminary findings of the National Science Foundation-funded Assessing Information Technology Educational Pathways that Promote Deployment and Use of Rural Broadband project ( at the nationwide Telecommunication Policy Research Conference, TPRC42. The conference was held at the George Mason University in Arlington, VA from September 12-14, 2014.

Doctoral candidate Jisue Lee presented a paper in the Competition and Markets 4 session of the conference that examines the alignment between the expectations and reality of IT career preparation. The study's findings indicate a misalignment of desired information technology (IT) competencies among the three core IT education stakeholder groups in Northwest Florida: current students at local 2 year and 4 year college, recently hired new professionals, and employers. These stakeholders consider foundational infrastructure design, operations support, and technology awareness as core competencies for entry level IT workforce. However, each of stakeholders’ expectations of general competencies demonstrate discrepancies, particularly in valuing customer service and communication skills. In addition, the current students’ source of building the desired competencies derived primarily from obtaining professional certifications driven by Florida Legislative Education Reform policy (SB1076), while employers and new professionals’ emphasis was on practical work experience including formal education, internships, and various extra-curriculum activities. This research suggests more communication and interaction for pursuing the mutually shared goals is needed between education and industry in order to decrease the gap between expectations and reality, improve student career success, build a strong IT workforce, and to keep it abreast of ever changing technology and user needs. The research paper is available at the Social Science Research Network electronic repository, or

Laura I Spears, Research Coordinator of Information Institute, presented a poster, 1 of 18 in a highly competitive poster session at the conference, titled: "Policy-Driven Workforce Needs in Northwest Florida:  IT/Broadband Job Competencies in Metro and Nonmetro Areas." This poster highlights a major gap in the local availability and provision of IT jobs between metro and non-metro areas, the diversity of desired general competencies from job posting ads, and the misalignment of IT competencies between job posting ads and employers. The Information Institute will continue into the third year of NSF ATE-funded research to enhance and develop further findings and recommendations for both education and industry to successfully identify efficient student pathways. (The research is available at electronic repository of SSRN: