Renton Technical College is doing its part to reduce the shortage of workers training in computer architecture by offering a new bachelor of applied science in computer network architecture. RTC announced last week that it has received $200,000 from the National Science Foundation to support the program.

“This grant will allow us to open and expand pathways for our students that were never before offered, and it sends a clear message that RTC is committed to meeting the needs of our high-tech industry partners,” said Stefanie McIrvin, RTC’s BAS program manager, in a statement.

The degree would prepare students to set up and manage computer networks, cloud services, and connected information technologies. An estimated 24 percent of IT workers are recruited from out of state, and RTC’s program would help to shrink that number in favor of local candidates.

The grant will enable RTC to develop a curriculum for the program, including aligning existing classes and covering startup costs. A related associate’s degree will be developed in conjunction with the new bachelor’s degree to allow graduates to transfer into the four-year program.

Once approved, the new computer network architecture degree will be the second four-year degree offered by RTC, and would accept students beginning in winter 2018. The first is a bachelor of applied science in applications development, which was launched in 2015.