The merging of information and telecommunications was epitomized in this country by the breakup of the Bell System in 1984. This opened to competition a field that almost from its origins a century ago had been cast as a monopoly enterprise, privately run and government regulated. Not surprisingly, these developments are creating a growing demand for a new kind of technical manager combining the installation capabilities of a technician with an executive's management skills.
"There hasn't been this kind of training before," said Rona Frankfort, spokesman for DeVRY Inc., a Bell & Howell Co. subsidiary that runs a network of 11 technical-training institutes across the country. To remedy that, Frankfort said, DeVRY will begin offering a new eight-trimester course this fall at its Devry Institute of Technology campus in City of Industry, which will lead to a bachelor-of-science degree in telecommunications management.
"We're very applications-oriented," Frankfort said in an interview from corporate headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Evanston.
The goal of the institute's new course is to produce graduates who are "immediately effective" in working with existing business networks and capable of moving quickly into supervisory positions. "Hands-on" training includes such management-technical topics as development of budgets, equipment purchasing, installation monitoring and improving the flow of office information, she said.
Students work year-round, their classes grouped typically in either the morning or the afternoon to accommodate job schedules. About 107 are expected to enroll for the inaugural class at City of Industry. Tuition for the 24-month telecommunications-management course is $12,630. Grants and loans are available, based on financial need, and students pay tuition on a monthly basis, Frankfort said.
If successful, the course may be offered at other Devry locations, which are in Decatur, Ga.; Chicago and Lombard, Ill.; Columbus, Ohio; Irving, Tex.; Kansas City, Mo.; Phoenix; Woodbridge, N.J.; and Calgary and Toronto, Canada.