Our first IT-Ready class in Phoenix kicked off last week with 22 students – 45 percent of them being military veterans. Sue Wallace, executive director of national workforce solutions for Creating IT Futures, is encouraging Phoenix-area employers to mark their calendars for April job interviews and consider hiring IT-Ready’s latest workforce-ready job candidates.
“IT-Ready has a successful track record of producing knowledgeable technologists who hit the ground running for their employers,” she said. “IT-Ready graduates bring to the workplace a useful blend of hard technical skills and softer professional skills that make them perfect for entry-level positions in IT services and support.”
This first IT-Ready class offered in the Phoenix tech job market is provides to students completely free of charge, thanks to financial support from the Cognizant U.S. Foundation and a partnership with Wounded Warrior Project, with additional support from Arizona@Work, Arizona’s workforce development network.
“For anyone wanting a career in technology, this is a smart training option. Creating IT Futures and the IT-Ready class in the City of Phoenix create a remarkable opportunity for job candidates to receive high-value training in an industry that continues to expand,” said Rob Stenson, business and workforce development center supervisor, Arizona@Work.
“In Downtown Phoenix alone, the number of technology companies has increased from 67 in 2012 to more than 320 in 2019. There are many positions open for trained workers. This is a great opportunity for employers to connect with individuals who are trained and ready to work,” added Stenson.
IT-Ready students in Phoenix recently spoke highly of the education and training they are receiving — and shared high hopes about the career opportunities awaiting them.
“Already having a family and the financial/time constraints that come with having a special-needs child, I couldn’t justify the cost of a four-year university and subsequent grad program,” said Omair Azam. “ IT is a field I can progress in without having to incur that sort of debt. I’m humbled and profoundly appreciative of the resources being expended on this program. This has been an amazing experience thus far and I’m excited to see where this path takes us.”
Filling Phoenix’s Tech Skills Gap
Despite recent turbulence in the U.S. stock market, the nation’s economy is growing — and the demand for tech workers is increasing. With a serious shortage of qualified tech workers in America, thousands of jobs as helpdesk technicians or roles testing software are available across the country, typically offering double the national wage.
“The tech industry needs a bigger pool of job candidates, and IT-Ready is doing just that — creating a bigger pool of job candidates,” Wallace said.
According to CompTIA’s Cyberstates 2018 report about the tech industry, nearly 200,000 new jobs were added, while employers posted 2.8 million job openings.
No previous tech experience is necessary to participate in IT-Ready, and only a high school diploma or GED is required.
“IT-Ready is giving opportunity to people who otherwise lack access because of under-representation, unemployment and under-employment,” Wallace said. “We are taking those individuals and giving them the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a newly launched tech career.”
IT-Ready Phoenix student Victor Martinez said he realized right away that the program was an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I knew taking IT-Ready and passing the CompTIA A+ certification exam would bridge me to an IT career of my dreams,” he said. “I can’t wait to finish the course and pass my exams just to make the whole IT-Ready team very proud.”
Fellow classmate Jon Hobbs agreed. “I'm very glad I got this opportunity to be in this class. The knowledge and help that IT-Ready is putting in this class is the much-needed step I think I need.”
How IT-Ready Works
Offered at no cost to qualified participants, IT-Ready is an eight-week, classroom-based, instructor-led program that teaches a wide range of hardware and software skills people need to secure entry-level IT positions.
Just as importantly, IT-Ready also teaches critical “soft” skills, such as workplace etiquette, communication, teamwork and colloboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and customer service.
At the end of IT-Ready training, students sit for the CompTIA A+ certification exam, also offered free of charge. This vendor-neutral certification has become the IT industry's preferred qualifying credential for an entry-level tech role.
IT-Ready student Arthur Miguel said he couldn’t wait to launch his tech career. “I can say that this program really works and they are on-point on what I need to learn in IT. I’m learning things that they did not teach when I was in college.”
His classmate, Sarai Ekblad, agreed. “I have been interested in IT for a while, but I didn't really know where to start. This class and the certification preparation seemed like a great opportunity to get started. I already have learned so much that I can see how IT-Ready can set a person up for a career in IT.”
Added IT-Ready participant Michael Martin, “IT is forever growing, especially as we become ever more reliant on technology in the workplace. (I’m getting) a great deal of information and the instruction is thorough. I am enjoying the experience and thankful for the opportunity.”
Next IT-Ready class in Phoenix commences May 6; applications are due online April 5
Wallace urged prospective IT-Ready candidates to submit their applications online now for Phoenix’s second IT-Ready class. The course begins May 6, and the application deadline is April 5. Prospective students can apply at https://www.creatingitfutures.org/apply.
Phoenix-area businesses interested in reviewing resumes of certified IT-Ready graduates and interviewing these qualified candidates for entry-level IT positions should contact Ryan Withem at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://www.creatingitfutures.org/hire/hire-overview.