Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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April 7, 2017

Celebrating the Faces of Workforce Development

#FacesOfWith the IT industry needing more workers, and more workers needing more opportunities, Creating IT Futures is supplying those opportunities for more people to prepare for, secure, and succeed in IT careers through research, partnering and program development.

Our leading program, IT-Ready, has branched out across America. Nearly 95 percent of graduates earn their CompTIA A+ certification and 80 percent move into paid IT roles with local companies. We’re creating more than the opportunity for a job, but instead, a life-long career full of upward mobility and self-sustaining income.

“Getting people jobs is a great job,” said Charles Eaton, CEO of Creating IT Futures and executive vice-president of social Innovation for CompTIA. “So many social challenges can be solved by providing someone a meaningful career and a living wage.”

Many workforce development programs that are providing on-ramps to IT career paths go unnoticed, which is why we are introducing the Faces of Workforce Development Showcase (#FacesOf). We felt #FacesOf was necessary to educate people on why workforce development programs like IT-Ready are important. Not only do these programs enable individuals to achieve their wildest dreams, such as buying a house or a car, but they also afford them the opportunity to achieve real-life necessities like providing food for their family.

Each week of the Showcase has a theme meant to highlight real-life testimonials of individuals who have developed into successful IT professionals thanks to workforce development programs.

Here’s a breakdown of each week’s themes and some suggestions for how to get involved. We will be posting throughout the next few months and we want you to take the showcase and share your own stories online using the hashtag #FacesOf.

Week 1 (April 10 to 14): Opening Doors
Did you know IT-Ready has helped launch over 1,500 careers since 2012? We’ll hear from Derrick Guy, a Fall 2016 graduate, about how his career in construction took him to an IT career path.
  • IT-Ready takes bright, motivated individuals who lack opportunity and teach them the technical and professional development skills needed to successfully secure work in an entry level IT position.
  • We strongly encourage IT-Ready alumni to “pay it forward” and open doors for new career opportunities for others.
Week 2 (April 17 to 21): Career Confidence
Since graduating from IT-Ready in 2012, Andrea Ring has steadily advanced within her IT career. She credits confidence and a willingness to learn for her success.
  • IT is a process of elimination and IT-Ready provides basic troubleshooting skills.
  • You won’t know the answer to every problem, but through workforce development programs, you can acquire the skills to gather information and then process it to find the answer.
Week 3 (April 24 to 28): Motivation
Ahmed Mohamed didn’t pass his first certification exam. Discouraged but not defeated, he said that his family supported him during the certification testing and re-testing.

Week 4 (May 1 to 5): Completing the Mission
Not all success stories start with certification and end in IT. While we strive for a 100 percent certification rate and placement in IT-specific jobs, some stories take time to evolve and lead to new career opportunities outside of tech.

Week 5 (May 8 to 12): Surreal Days

IT is leading to surreal days for many individuals. After program completion, students are pursuing additional certifications, allowing them to gain more knowledge and work on projects that a year prior they would not have understood.
  • IT-Ready graduates are encouraged to take advantage of the Alumni program, which provides free online training and testing vouchers for other CompTIA certifications, including Network+ and Security+.
  • There are several ways IT-Ready alumni can volunteer.
Week 6 (May 15 to 19): Soft Skills Success
The promotions and pay raises of an upwardly mobile IT career often depend on soft professional skills, like communication, as much as they do an employee’s technical knowledge.
  • Through real-life scenarios, PrepareU students learn communication, collaboration, conflict resolution and problem-solving skills, as well as good workplace and career habits.
  • When asked how employers would rate the degree to which PrepareU helped their employees in their jobs, 100 percent said it had a positive effect.
Week 7 (May 22 to 26): Monday, Monday
You can have a job that you enjoy going to with a career in IT. There is no longer dreading the end of the weekend.
  • Most IT-Ready students who pass their CompTIA A+ certification exams are eligible for a six-month on-the-job experience paying up to $15/hour.
  • Graduates are effectively employees of that company on a temporary, contract, or full-time permanent basis.
Week 8 (May 29 to June 2): Great Jobs, Great Benefits
In 2012, Joel Mielke found himself at the point of despair. In his words, he was at a point in his life when he felt he had nothing to offer society and nothing he could contribute of value. IT-Ready helped the displaced auto-manufacturing worker establish an upwardly mobile career in information technology.

Week 9 (June 5 to 9): Life Changing
After being laid off three times in six years, Jeff Davis knew he needed to get out of warehouse logistic. IT-Ready gave him the tools he needed to move into IT.

Week 10 (June 12 to 16): Career Characteristics

When Tucker Landis’s mom saw an ad for IT-Ready, she immediately knew the program was exactly what her son needed. So, she encouraged him to apply. Landis knew that IT jobs were plentiful and that they’re good jobs – offering attractive wages and hours and upwardly mobile career paths. He just needed an on-ramp to the industry.
  • According to USA Today, tech jobs are thriving nationwide, up to 7.3 million workers.
  • CompTIA Cyberstates finds the tech sector grew 2.7 percent and the U.S. economy added more than 182K tech jobs in 2016.
  • Cyberstates also finds the average tech salary is $108,900.
  • Even if you don’t live in one of the top 10 states for tech employment, there are still tech jobs in every region and city.
Week 11 (June 19 to 23): A Home Base
Every three years, Catalina Bauer had to worry about saving up enough money to renew her United States residency. Within one year of graduating IT-Ready, she secured full-time employment, and the money she was once worried about saving went to obtaining her United States citizenship.

Week 12 (June 26 to 30): Overcoming Challenges
Brant Backes still can clearly remember the feelings of that day even though it has been over five years. He and his wife were sitting at their kitchen table looking at their options. He’d been permanently laid off and had to start looking for another job. A brand-new workforce development pilot changed all of that.