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New certification is key to Workforce Solutions and business advancement

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – (July 8, 2004) – United States businesses stand on the edge of a key breakthrough in computer-system management, say information technology experts in Hampton Roads and beyond. That is - using “open source” technology to manage in-house applications with customized solutions.

Open-source technology has caught on among area businesses - but not enough trained personnel are available. Beginning this fall, official Red Hat Linux training will be available for the first time in Hampton Roads.

Tidewater Community College will serve as the official Red Hat Academy in Southeastern Virginia to help lead the region’s Workforce Solutions in IT infrastructure maintenance. The Workforce Solutions initiative from the Virginia Community College System will provide training and certification in open source and Linux operating systems developed by Red Hat, a firm based in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina.

Open-source software has created an evolution in the computing world, according to IT and computer experts. Once dominated by software developers like Microsoft, the industry is welcoming open-source software that can be more easily customized for business applications. All software is built with source code. Open source means the codes can be seen, modified and customized by trained programmers instead of software developers; most open-source software is published under the General Public License as a free, public product.
“The importance of open-source certification is far-reaching for today’s market and Workforce Solutions,” says Rose Johnson, vice chancellor for Workforce Solutions services, Virginia Community College System. “What businesses will pay for in the long term is software as a service, such as customization for a business need. This is a transition to software as a commodity, just as personal computing hardware is now nearly a commodity.”

The Virginia Community College System agreement with Red Hat Inc. (NASDAQ: RHAT) authorizes three Regional Academies for this specialized training and certification. TCC and Northern Virginia Community College are the first two Virginia colleges chosen to offer the program.

“The selection of TCC as a Red Hat Academy is immensely important to our region,” says Theresa Bryant, TCC vice president for Workforce Solutions. “With these certifications now available in Hampton Roads, dozens of businesses can send their employees for training, or rely on certified experts to manage their IT systems as never before.”

TCC has provided Linux operating system courses for more than five years. Under the new agreement, the college will offer coursework and certification exams for the Red Hat Certified Technician (RHCT) designations. In addition to stringent exams, RHCT requires candidates to complete real-world tasks without guidance.

TCC debuts the new certification program this fall with Red Hat-certified instructors. “Red Hat Academy provides an exceptional opportunity for students to develop marketable skills in a leading technology as part of their IT education,” explains Roberta Cool, TCC’s dean of information technology. “It will add to our established classes and increase benefits for students from the business world as well as traditional students.”

Note: RED HAT ACADEMY REGISTRATION STARTS JULY 15. For registration information call TCC’s Information Center at 822-1122.

Media Note: Professor Robert Guess, a certified Red Hat instructor who has taught at TCC for eight years, serves as primary contact for information on the program’s courses, 822-5022. The first course to implement the Red Hat Academy at TCC will be ITN 171 Linux System Administration, offered Monday nights this fall at TCC’s Chesapeake Campus.

Background: Red Hat is the world’s premier open source and Linux provider. Red Hat, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., has offices worldwide. For more information, visit Red Hat on the Web at

Laurie White
Media Relations

Tidewater Community College is the second largest of the 23 community colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, enrolling more than 34,000 students annually. The 37th largest in the nationís 1,600 community-college network, TCC ranks among the 50 fastest-growing large community colleges. Founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in the theater district in downtown Norfolk, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth and a regional Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-three percent of the regionís residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC.