Columbia State, Tractor Supply continue capstone course partnership

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Columbia State Community College and Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ: TSCO), the largest operator of rural lifestyle retail stores in the United States, have continued their partnership by providing a capstone course in emerging technologies, which one student recently completed at the company’s store support center in Brentwood.

“At Tractor Supply, we strongly value workforce development, and we continually look for ways to assist students in preparing for their future careers — whether through internships or work-study programs,” said Rob Mills, executive vice president, chief technology, digital commerce and strategy officer at Tractor Supply. “Continuing our partnership with Columbia State has allowed us to extend this passion to local students and provide them with hands-on learning opportunities in retail and technology.” 

The capstone course allows students to research emerging technologies in the retail industry by exploring areas of study such as artificial intelligence, the internet of things, big data and analytics and other progressive topics in the technology industry. 

Iyobed Zekarias, a Nashville resident, recently completed the 10-week course and gave a presentation about his experience. 

“Every single day I was here, I was doing something productive,” he said. “I had the opportunity to work with analytics, which I had never really done before, and I enjoyed that.”

Upon completing his coursework at Columbia State, Zekarias transferred to Lipscomb University this fall to continue his education in computer information technology and plans to work in data science in the future. 

Deepa Janakiraman, Columbia State program director and assistant professor of computer information technology, has been involved with the program since its inception in December 2017. 

“The Columbia State and Tractor Supply partnership has been a very rewarding experience for our faculty and students,” she said. “The capstone partnership is a milestone in the push to develop the workforce needed for the future.”

Tractor Supply Company was instrumental in the course development and oversaw the students’ day-to-day work experiences. 

“This type of collaboration helps our students understand the corporate structure and take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it in a real-world job setting,” Janakiraman said. “We have received exceptional feedback about our students from Tractor Supply mentors and are very proud of them.”

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