Downers Grove, IL — Committing to upskilling and expanding North Carolina’s tech workforce, Creating IT Futures is establishing a permanent home in Charlotte for its IT-Ready career program. With funding from TEKsystems and supported by a grant from Google.org to Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont, Creating IT Futures will offer four IT-Ready tech support classes this year at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus.
At no cost to students, IT-Ready assesses, trains, certifies and places unemployed and under-employed adults in their first jobs in the information technology (IT) field, which has a shortage of qualified workers. Over the course of eight weeks of full-time classroom training, students work toward certification in CompTIA A+. Employment in North Carolina’s technology industry expanded by an estimated 10,100 jobs in 2017, according to Cyberstates™ 2018, the annual analysis of the nation’s tech industry published by CompTIA. In total, North Carolina employers posted 90,200 jobs for technology positions last year. Charlotte is the largest tech city in North Carolina.
“With support from TEKsystems, Goodwill and Charlotte Works, we ran a pilot IT-Ready class in Charlotte last year. With 800 applicants, 25 students were selected for admission with 88 percent of them graduating,” said Charles Eaton, CEO, Creating IT Futures. “With the success of our pilot class, we’re excited to make Charlotte one of our permanent locations, as we have had in the Twin Cities since 2012. We’re particularly focused on under-represented populations in IT to help diversify the tech workforce. In the Charlotte class that graduated in October, 74 percent were people of color, 35 percent were women, and 26 percent were military veterans.”
Many of the October graduates are now working in tech in Charlotte. After graduating from IT-Ready and earning his CompTIA A+ certification, Brad Foster secured full-time employment with Compumedics USA, where he is a technical analyst. He troubleshoots and solves issues with complicated and proprietary medical hardware and software used for sleep studies, EEG brain scans and other neuroscience studies.
“For a long time, I wanted to make such a career change, but I never had the resources or even the guarantee of a paying job on the other end. The IT-Ready class really has been a godsend for not only my professional career, but my feeling of self-worth,” Foster said. “I cannot thank you (Creating IT Futures) enough.”
Upon graduating and earning his CompTIA A+ certification, fellow IT-Ready student Bryce Goodman accepted a position with TEKsystems, and now is deployed as a desktop support technician for Bank of America.
“IT-Ready prepared me for working in a professional environment; we were required to wear business attire to every class,” Goodman said. “We met with CEOs and other executives from major companies and they let us pick their brains in issues such as how they were successful, interviewing tips, or the importance of the IT field in general.”
There are still a few talented candidates left from the 2017 pilot class ready to be hired by Charlotte employers. Employers who wish to hire IT-Ready graduates should contact Natasha Pender at email@example.com.
The first Charlotte class for 2018 began this month with the next course beginning in June. Potential IT-Ready students can check www.ITReady.com for the full list of when each class will start this year and when applications are due.
What Do IT-Ready Students Learn?
In the IT-Ready Tech Support class, students participate in taking apart and building desktop computers and other hardware; learn about motherboards, printers, peripheral devices, memory and physical storage, connections and mobile devices; set up computer networks and troubleshoot networks, displays, printers, and operating systems; configure operating systems and hardware; and secure networks, systems and data.
IT-Ready students also receive targeted professional development in key business “soft” skills such as professional communication and presentation, teamwork and collaboration, and critical thinking and problem solving. IT-Ready graduates are grounded in these key skills and prepared to apply them on day one of their new jobs. After completing their training, the students sit for the CompTIA A+ certification exam which covers desktop and help-desk technical support duties and skills.
Located at the Goodwill Opportunity Campus at 5301 Wilkinson Boulevard in Charlotte, IT-Ready classes run for eight weeks, all day, every weekday. IT-Ready students receive free tuition, books and learning materials, more than 240 hours of classroom tech and soft skills training, and certification vouchers toward the CompTIA A+ exam.
Potential employers, students and community partners can learn more at www.ITReady.com.