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June 19, 2014

OurFamilyWizard recruits the human touch from IT-Ready

Javier_Martinez Javier Martinez, IT-Ready grad
Helping divorced families communicate and cooperate is no small feat.

The folks at OurFamilyWizard know this. Their web- and mobile-based software is designed to help divorced couples work more effectively as co-parents, despite the decision to part.

When you’re working in an environment fraught with anger, resentment, hostility and strong wills, diplomacy is a must, said Bryan Altman, OurWizardFamily chief operating officer.

“Our support team is steeped in legal and mental-health issues that present different challenges every day,” Altman said.

So when OurFamilyWizard recently expanded its IT support staff, the company turned to IT-Ready, which trains students on soft professional skills in addition to technical acumen.

About three months ago, OurFamilyWizard hired IT-Ready grad Javier Martinez, 22, of St. Paul, MN, to provide technical support to software end users via phone and email in both Spanish and English.

“I was looking for candidates or potential training grounds for tech support candidates, and saw IT-Ready,” Altman said. “I was thrilled to learn IT-Ready certifies both the technical and soft skills we are looking for. Because we're a relatively small company, we call on each team member to wear a lot of hats.”

OurFamilyWizard’s products are designed to foster communication and remove conflict between parents who have split up. Their software allows parents to share information, manage expenses and tasks, and send notifications and reminders. It offers third-party professionals — such as psychologists or court-appointed attorneys — access to pertinent information to help them better support the family.

The software even offers a private message board complete with a “tone-o-meter” which can advise an angry parent firing off a snippy email that perhaps he or she should dial it back.

OurFamilyWizard’s software has proven so effective that family-court judges in nearly all 50 states have ordered parents embroiled in bitter divorces to use it to reduce tension, lessen stress on children and move costly and time-consuming cases out of the court system, Altman said.

While OurFamilyWizard gains national exposure and traction, the company gradually has been expanding its workforce, Altman said. And when it came to a recent round of hiring, job candidate attributes of diplomacy and flexibility were just as critical as technical know-how.

“Javier’s easy and professional disposition is effective with our users, many of whom come from high-conflict custody and visitation cases,” Altman said. “Javier has already contributed to the translation of our service as we gear up for a Spanish release he will help us support.”

For his part, Martinez said IT-Ready allowed him to turn what had been a favorite hobby — information technology — into a career path with growth potential.

“I had done a lot of work with family and friends: Fixing their computers, removing viruses, fixing my own computer,” he said. “Once I told my wife, ‘You know, I spend hours doing this for people and I don’t get tired, I don’t get bored,’ so I thought I needed to get some training on it.”

But Martinez assumed training meant college. And with having a wife and children to support, Martinez said, he couldn’t afford the time or expense of college. Then he found IT-Ready.

“This is life changing,” he said. “Getting up to go to work and provide for my family, it excites me. I see a big future for me.”

Although Martinez has worked at OurFamilyWizard just a short time, Altman said, he has made important contributions.

“We need our support team to move quickly and communicate effectively with both end users and our own development team so we can resolve issues fast,” he said. “In the few months Javier has been here, he has met that challenge.”

To learn more about OurFamilyWizard’s web and mobile applications, visit the company’s website at www.ourfamilywizard.com.

Companies in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area interested in recruiting IT-Ready graduates may contact Tom Pinger, Employer Solutions Specialist, at tpinger@comptia.org. To learn more about IT-Ready and where it operates, visit: www.creatingitfutures.org/hire.