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"We welcome this as a great opportunity for soldiers here in Mississippi," said Col. William "Brad" Smith, commander of Camp Shelby, in a statement. "The IT training and professional certification program will be highly beneficial to unemployed and under-employed veterans transitioning back to the civilian workforce, enabling them to learn highly sought-after skills to succeed."

The Open Technology Training Academy had originally scheduled to open in January, but the date was moved up. "The time for planning and discussion has ended. Now is the time for action," Col. Smith said in the statement.

Classroom-based instruction

A 70-hour, five-day "boot camp" course will start on September 1, but the academy will eventually offer both introductory and advanced-level courses, Weathersby said. By the end of the year, the academy should be offering four to six classes per month.

While a great deal of IT instruction is moving online -- including Introduction to Linux, a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) rising out of a partnership between The Linux Foundation and nonprofit learning platform edX -- the instruction at Camp Shelby will be entirely classroom-based, at least to start.

The academy course, which will cost $2,500, will conclude with a Linux Professional Institute exam and LPI certification. Because the academy is associated with nearby Hinds Community College, which already operates a satellite campus on Camp Shelby, active military personnel and veterans will be able to access the GI Bill to help pay for the coursework, Weathersby said.

In a related effort to position itself as a national center of expert training, Camp Shelby opened a business innovation incubator several months ago. Not surprisingly, open source is a growth area for this initiative too.

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  • Military

    Conduct testing, training, research & development of open technologies in support of Active, Reserve and Joint Forces mission objectives.

  • Cyber

    Advanced research and development of Open Source Software technologies, practices and resources supporting national defense and cyber security.

  • Logistics

    Perfecting the science and practice of utilizing road, rail, sea, and air transports to securely get people and equipment where they are needed.

    As one

  • Outreach

    Building strategically beneficial relationships that support and educate both the Public and Private Sectors and encourage innovation.

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