The new Keesler Air Force Base computer lab is on the second floor of the Sablich Center. It's where airman Michael Wyand will expand his computer expertise.
"For me, computer technology never ends," Wyand said. "I like breathe and eat computer knowledge. I love it."
Dr. Willis Lott represented the community college at the computer lab ribbon cutting. "This will allow them to enhance their degrees," Dr. Lott said. "But also enhance their careers in the military."
Keesler Gen. Ted Mercer brokered the joint venture. It's similar to a Cal Poly program Mercer set up at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The general said, "It's historic in that it has allowed us to team to step up into the next generation of education and educational opportunities."
Master Sergeant John Moak is all for new educational opportunities. As soon as he finishes a graduate program at William Carey, he'll go for a computer certificate from Cal Poly. It will "help me with my job right now in the air force, where I am superintendent first term airman's center," Moak said, "as well as personally furthering my understanding of computer technologies."
Computer training at the base is already offered by the community college. Damion Flynn is a community college instructor. "With everything we've got out here, we're teaching technology courses," he said.
At that point, Flynn touched a screen, and a computer terminal popped up. "We're just using the technology to show them," he said.
Cal Poly officials said their program will simply expand the number of computer classes taught at Keesler Air Force Base.
When classes begin, Keesler students will be able to earn Cal Poly certificates. Eventually, the California university would like to set up a program so Keesler personnel can earn four-year computer degrees.