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September 22, 2016

Genesys Works Receives $45,000 Philanthropic Gift from CompTIA Communities

Genesys Works checkSix CompTIA member communities and councils chose to donate $45,000 to the nonprofit organization, Genesys Works.

Their joint contribution is part of an annual process by CompTIA and its philanthropic arm, the /home">Creating IT Futures Foundation, to give back to local communities through philanthropy, bringing positive awareness to selected charities and CompTIA, and acting as a way of encouraging individual charitable service.

The member communities making the joint donation include:
  • The Cloud Community, which consists of independent IT software vendors, solution providers and tech-industry thought leaders driving new ideas in cloud computing.
  • The IT Security Community, whose members watch the security landscape to stay on top of ever-changing challenges.
  • IT Services & Support, which is dedicated to helping technical services remain relevant and profitable.
  • The Managed Print Services Community, whose goal is to bring together managed print service providers, distributors, OEMs, consultants and others to create tools and programs that benefit managed print services providers.
  • The Managed Services Community, whose members collaborate to advance managed IT services through best practices and education, and the development of new tools and templates.
  • The Human Services Information Technology Advisory Group (HSITAG) provides a collaborative source of knowledge, educational outreach and guidance to improve the delivery of human services-related IT programs.
Chris Johnson, chairman of the IT Security Community and director of strategy and business development for Wheelhouse IT, said, “In conjunction with the other communities’ funds, our contribution will make a real difference in the lives of young adults. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

The nonprofit organization these CompTIA member groups are jointly supporting is Genesys Works, which seeks to change the trajectory of life for disadvantaged high-school students through meaningful work experiences.

The Genesys Works program consists of eight weeks of technical and professional skills training, a paid year-long corporate internship, college and career coaching, and alumni support to and through college. The organization’s goal is to move more students out of poverty and into professional careers, creating a more productive and diverse workforce in the process. Since it was founded in 2002, Genesys Works has grown to serve nearly 3,000 students annually in Houston, Chicago, Minneapolis/St. Paul, the San Francisco Bay Area, and the greater Washington, D.C. region.

“Who gave you your first big break? How are you paying it forward and giving someone their first big break?” said Rafael Alvarez, the founder and CEO while attending CompTIA’s recent ChannelCon event. “Genesys Works is a provider of first big breaks. This donation will help train 20 students on how to be professionals and connects them with employers for year-long internships.”

Jason Bystrak, executive director of Cloud-North America for Ingram Micro, said members of his Cloud Community were impressed at how well Genesys Works graduates thrive in the economic mainstream because they’ve gained the knowledge and work experienced needed for professional careers.

As CEO of Anchor Network Solutions Inc., Vince Tinnirello appreciates how Genesys Works helps young people gain practical experience that positions them for success in the workplace — a value add that appealed to all members of his Managed Services Community.

“As business owners, we’re always looking for people with real-world experience and Genesys Works helps young people gain that experience,” he said.

Genesys Works was started by Alvarez, who then was a corporate strategist for Compaq Computer in Houston. While serving as a board member of a local charter school, Alvarez was struck by the bleak prospects facing economically-challenged high-school students at a time when companies like his were in need of new sources of talent.

An idea for a new social enterprise emerged: Train students in the IT services needed in large companies and place them as outsourced contracted talent with corporate clients. It would improve the prospects for low-income high-school students while introducing a new stream of diverse talent to corporate America.

Starting with only 10 students and one corporate partner, Genesys Works since has grown into a national organization.