Brian Gupton and Paige Hart from Princeton recently reported progress on Dataseam workforce initiatives to the Kentucky General Assembly Interim Joint Committee on Education.

Dataseam supplies computers to Kentucky schools and conducts cancer drug discovery research. It also provides industry-standard technology certifications, student apprentice opportunities and college scholarships.

Founded by Gupton and current Dataseam Board of Directors member Dean Hughes, also of Princeton, Dataseam began its initial research computing proof of concept in 2004 with approximately 70 Apple workstations in Caldwell County High School classrooms and labs "loaned" to begin the effort. To date, Dataseam-participating schools statewide have earned more than 26,000 new workstations through the program funded by the Kentucky General Assembly.

Dataseam CEO Gupton pointed out in addition to 2,232 Apple workstations recently placed in Kentucky schools and increased capacity to run cancer research for the University of Louisville Brown Cancer Center, Dataseam is in the middle of an extensive industry certification program for school technology professionals. Morehead State University and the University of Louisville continue to recruit and provide STEM-based scholarships to students totaling over $2.5 million.

Dataseam is working with participating schools to employ students in a U.S. Department of Labor Certified, Information Technology apprenticeship program. It is a first of its kind in Kentucky. Princeton native Paige Hart is currently a third-year medical school student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. She is one of eight students selected as a Trover Scholars, spending her last two years of medical school at the Madisonville campus.

As a former Dataseam Scholar, earning a four-year scholarship to the University of Louisville as part of the district's participation in the program, Hart talked about coming full circle in her education and career.

"I dream of the day that I have my full circle moment when I used Dataseam computers as a student in Caldwell County to the day as a physician I give information on the drugs produced by those same computers," Hart said.

Parker Smith shared his professional journey as part of the Dataseam training initiatives that have culminated in his dream job as CIO of Williamsburg Independent Schools.

"The industry certifications, professional networking and support, along with the opportunities to engage resources on a national level have helped this country boy from Clay County to do things I could not imagine," Smith said.

Smith is an Apple certified support professional, supporting Dataseam technologies for research and education. As part of its workforce development efforts, Dataseam has trained and certified more Apple professionals, as a percentage by population, than any other state.

Blake McCullah, one of the current IT apprentices and Whitley County High School student, testified about why the Dataseam program is different.

"I worked and learned about computer repair, system maintenance and computer network issues. And since this was my first job, I had to open a bank account," McCullah said.

"We have reported in the past on cancer research made possible by the DataseamGrid, but today we provided context, reality and faces to the education and workforce outcomes of our efforts with our K-12 and university partners," Gupton said.

"The investments by University of Louisville and Morehead State; the industry-standard training and certification; the opportunity and employability for participants enhance the return on the state investment in the Dataseam program."