Dr. John Sands is sharing testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on expanding apprenticeships in America.

Moraine Valley Community College professor Dr. John Sands will share testimony on expanding apprenticeships in America to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology on Feb. 15 in Washington, D.C.

Sands, professor/department chair of Information Technology and director/principal investigator of the Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance NSF Regional Center, was tapped by Congressman Dan Lipinski, ranking member of the Research and Technology subcommittee, as one of four representatives to speak on the benefit and importance of apprenticeships. He is the only one from a community college.

This testimony is part of a presidential executive order to expand apprenticeships in the U.S. to help more qualified people obtain high-paying jobs. Sands prepared a statement on how apprenticeship programs, internships and residencies address the growing gap in workforce needs while adequately preparing students.

Over the years, Moraine Valley has received a number of grants from the National Science Foundation, including one in 2003 to study cybersecurity workforce needs. Because his expertise is in cybersecurity, he’ll focus his testimony on that aspect of technology and discuss the significance of Moraine Valley building partnerships with local businesses to develop curriculum and related internships and apprenticeships.

Sands has five minutes plus a question and answer session to highlight the role community colleges play in establishing a strong network of apprentice programs in the career and technology fields while still being affordable. This is the first time he will present testimony; however, his predecessor at the college, Eric Spengler, did so several years ago.

“Lipinski is a big supporter of [Moraine Valley] and wanted someone from our district to testify, so I’m speaking on behalf of the college,” Sands said. “I think it’s a good chance to talk about what we can do at the community college. Tuitions are getting higher when you’re talking about sending kids to a four-year school. We’re a good option, and the best option in that regard. Community colleges have some of the best apprenticeships.”