Paier College, known for the arts, focuses on in-demand jobs

BRIDGEPORT — A small college known for arts and design is now looking to prepare students for high-paying jobs.

Paier College on Monday announced new web and mobile application design programs, citing increased demand in the field. The college is also partnering with The Hispanic Coalition to provide scholarships to Bridgeport residents interested in these careers with the city’s federal COVID-19 assistance.

The additions come as Paier has carved out a place among ‘art schools’ for business arts and employment opportunities – including a name change from Paier College of Art last March to reflect an expansion of degree offers.

“We’ve expanded the word art,” said Joseph Bierbaum, president of Paier College, who oversaw the growing college’s move from Hamden to Bridgeport.

The web and mobile design programs will cover a variety of interrelated topics, from content to back-end development, and aesthetic design to user interface and usability. Students can take courses in computer graphics, photo digital imaging and multimedia design, web pages and web applications.

“Everything you use on your device is what we prepare students to create,” Bierbaum said.

Paier also tapped Div Pithadia, a seasoned CTO of several startups and tech companies, to spearhead the new programs as its first chair of web and mobile design and development. Pithadia was inspired by his young daughter, who he says learned to paint on her iPad rather than on canvas.

“It’s the new medium,” Pithadia said. “A lot of these technologies aren’t difficult – they’re just intimidating.”

College representatives suggested that the welcoming approach is central to the design of the program. Students can choose to pursue certificates, which could get them into the program and land a well-paying job within six months, or work toward an associate’s degree, depending on their goals and needs.

Careers in application development, web development and system software development statewide are expected to increase more than 20% from 2018 to 2028, school officials said citing the Department of Connecticut work. The college’s latest programmatic additions could help with this rapid expansion, they said.

“That’s strong growth,” said Bierbaum, the college’s president, who added that they also looked at labor statistics across the New York metro area. “We know there is a great need in the areas where our market comes from and where our market returns to live.”

Payer also plans to make these programs more accessible. On Monday, the college also announced a partnership with The Hispanic Coalition to create scholarships — funded by a grant from the American Rescue Plan Act funds of the city of Bridgeport.

“During our conversations with Paier College about how best to help residents of the City of Bridgeport, we determined that creating a scholarship for a program that could prepare them for a career in a field in less demand one year would be the most impactful use of funding,” said Victor Lopez, executive director of The Hispanic Coalition.

Lopez said one fellow started classes this semester, while 16 other students will complete the program by the end of the year.

“My administration is dedicated to providing a significant portion of Bridgeport’s ARPA funding for workforce development,” Bridgeport Mayor Joseph Ganim said. “We are fortunate to have great partners like the Hispanic Coalition and Paier College who look forward to working with us and supporting our residents as they learn the skills they need to pursue new career opportunities. ‘use.”

Other state leaders had high hopes for the programs and their potential impact on the state and its future workforce.

“The jobs of tomorrow are based on innovation, information and education. Paier College is leading the way in preparing Connecticut’s higher education students for these jobs,” U.S. Representative Jim Himes, who represents Southwest Connecticut, said in a statement.

“With many companies planning to locate in the 4th arrondissement and its rapidly growing reputation as a hub for tech startups, this talent pool will help meet the need for young people interested in careers in tech,” did he declare.

The Connecticut Board of Higher Education Governors has approved an Associate’s Degree and Certificate in Mobile Application Design, as well as a Certificate in Web Application Design. The college has also been approved to offer the programs by its national accreditor.

“As I speak with business leaders across the state about where we need talent, web and mobile development often tops the list,” said Timothy Larson, executive director of the Connecticut Office of Higher Education. “The approval of these new programs at Paier College will prime the pipeline of talented future leaders in our state by providing our students with additional opportunities to prepare for these in-demand careers.”

Students can enroll in the six-month Web Application Design certificate program now, while the Mobile Application Design course will be offered starting this fall.

Christopher S. Washington