After operating its signature IT-Ready tech career program for six years in Minneapolis/ St. Paul and running pop-up classrooms in six sites nationally, Creating IT Futures opened two new permanent IT-Ready locations in Portland, OR, and Charlotte, NC.
Creating IT Futures also launched IT-Ready QA, a new career program that teaches participants the foundational skills needed to become a software tester — positioning them for entry-level positions as a software QA analyst.
“Creating IT Futures’ efforts to create on-ramps that prepare more people for successful IT career are bearing fruit,” said Sue Wallace, executive director of national workforce solutions.
Approximately 88 percent of IT-Ready participants graduate, while 86 percent secure employment in full-time tech jobs.
Creating IT Futures plans to launch new learning opportunities in 2019, Wallace said. They include:
- Establishing a permanent IT-Ready site in Chicago and Phoenix with pop-up locations in San Antonio and San Diego.
With support from Boeing, Cognizant U.S. Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project, IT-Ready will offer tech training in the Avondale area of Chicago at Northeastern Illinois University’s El Centro campus. Cognizant U.S. Foundation and Wounded Warrior Project also will help IT-Ready launch classes in Phoenix, San Antonio and San Diego.
- Creating a “hybrid” IT-Ready curriculum that offers virtual instructor-led classes during the evening.
Currently, IT-Ready is offered in a traditional classroom environment on weekdays during normal business hours — circumstances that can be a barrier to entry for some people, Wallace said.
“We’d love to be able to tap into a broader population than can attend IT-Ready classes,” she said.
Sue Wallace (left) discusses workforce partnership opportunities with local nonprofits in Minnesota.
- Offering curriculum focusing on applying business analysis skills and project management skills to a tech career.
“Although our participants typically are new to the tech industry, some have business analysis or project management skills that they’re bringing with them from previous careers,” Wallace said. “Helping those folks leverage such skills to further their tech careers within IT makes sense.”
- Developing curriculum that helps advance participants’ math and language foundational skills.
“Often people don’t think of IT as requiring writing skills, but if you’re working on a help desk, that work involves documentation — making sure you’re collecting useful information from the end-user and writing up tickets accurately so that you’re helping another individual resolve the problem or escalate it to the next level,” she said.
Tech industry employment remains strong, Wallace said, with IT job postings up 30 percent compared to last year.
“Well paying and upwardly mobile jobs in the tech industry await any qualified job applicant,” Wallace said. “Creating IT Futures is eager to help even more motivated people uncover their career potential in IT.”