WCTC to Offer First Artificial Intelligence (AI) Associate Degree in Wisconsin

December 1, 2023
Photo courtesy of WCTC WCTC pusing the envelope on artificial intelligence with new degree and an AI incubation center.

If you’re interested in working in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence (AI), or trying to find talent with skills in AI, Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) has good news for you. They just received approval from the Wisconsin Technical College System Board to be the first in the state to offer an associate degree program in AI. The new 60-credit Artificial Intelligence Data Specialist Associate of Applied Science degree program will be available starting in the fall 2024 semester. 

WCTC began offering three new AI certificate programs this semester to help workers develop the skills to work with AI and advanced data analytics in the workplace. The certificates include Foundations of AI, Foundations of Data Analytics and AI Technician, and all of them will be incorporated into the new associate degree program, so ambitious students can get a head start on their degrees by starting with the certificate programs. 

“We are pushing the envelope on artificial intelligence and we intend to lead indefinitely,” said Rich Barnhouse, Ph.D., president of WCTC. “With the addition of the new two-year AI degree — on top of the three new AI certificates announced earlier this year — WCTC is setting the pace for AI learning for business and industry in southeastern Wisconsin.”

To develop the programs, WCTC said it worked for the past two years to research program requirements and identify the needs of local employers from healthcare, manufacturing, information technology, insurance and other industries.

Guillaume Laur, senior vice president and general manager of Eaton’s Power Delivery & Regulation Division said, “As AI continues to grow, it is increasingly difficult to find qualified individuals with the experience and knowledge needed, At Eaton, we envision AI transforming manufacturing and recognize the need to integrate it into our workforce. AI technical programs at WCTC will benefit our company and the region.”

WCTC is also developing an AI innovation and incubator center that is designed to help create new businesses focused on applied AI. 

“Our goal is not just to provide a space for new businesses to bring their plans to life, but to also provide an environment of collaboration and ingenuity,” Barnhouse said. “The center will be a place where current business and industry partners can learn more about how to modernize their operations by leveraging AI and the vast amount of resources WCTC has available to them. Our announcement today is just the beginning.”