Morgan State University and The National Football League (NFL) have partnered to create a data analytics initiative designed to inspire more Black students to pursue careers in data analytics and data science.
The partnership promises internship opportunities, case study programs and career fairs from the NFL. At the same time, there are plans for a concerted effort to create more academic inroads into data analytics and data science from Morgan State, with data science workshops and programming at the Northeast Baltimore HBCU’s FinTech Center. The idea is that if business students are equipped with an understanding of data science, the NFL can then hire them to fill roles as football operations data scientists. These roles have a pay scale at that ranges from $72,000 to $148,000, according to Glassdoor.
“The ongoing NFL-HBCU partnership continues to expand student opportunities through resourcing infrastructure enhancement, academic support and the student athlete experience,” said Troy Vincent, senior executive vice president of NFL football operations, in a statement. “The Morgan State partnership and the Campus Connection initiative is critical for identifying, developing and exposing the next generation of sport leaders.”
The first workshops in descriptive analytics and predictive analytics begin in January. There will be a whole series of workshops and programs next year to prepare students of multiple disciplines to fill data scientist roles. Although Morgan State does have courses and degree programs that center around data science, specifically in the computer science department, the focus on workshops and bootcamps is an effort to prepare as many students as possible for data analyst roles and forgo some of the prerequisites and coursework requirements of a full on minor or degree in data science.
“If our students come out with the knowledge and skillsets that the NFL needs and our students are ready to join that organization, we have achieved our initial goal,” said Ali Emdad, associate dean for the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management and founding director of the FinTech Center.
It’s the university adapting a more flexible approach to education to fill an employer need.
“Big data has increasingly become important to all corporations, companies and industries,” said Emdad. “Our role as an education provider is to make the workshops available and accessible to our students so that they can learn the skills, join the job market and be productive citizens.”
Donte Kirby is a 2020-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.-30-