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 protected].
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.
About Creating IT Futures Founded in 1998 by CompTIA, Creating IT Futures is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at www.creatingITfutures.org.
About TEKsystems People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, an Allegis Group company, we understand people. Every year we deploy more than 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals–while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.
About Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont Goodwill has been serving individuals and families in the Southern Piedmont region of North and South Carolina for more than 50 years. Goodwill operates 24 retail stores and has more than 30 donation sites in the region. Proceeds from the sale of donated goods fund job training and employment services for individuals facing obstacles to employment such as lack of skills, experience or education and those with criminal backgrounds. For more information, visit www.goodwillsp.org.