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Review for Creating IT Futures, Downers Grove, IL, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

This summer, SLO County Office of Education, SLO Partners and Creating IT Futures embarked on a new career training and apprenticeship program to grow the tech workforce in the greater San Luis Obispo area of California.

With hundreds of applicants for 50 spots in the program, the three partners first launched two classes of Creating IT Futures’ IT-Ready career program. Each class trained toward CompTIA A+ certification. Plus, these two classes were underwritten by the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, so that each student received a stipend of $70 a day – a first for any IT-Ready program. The SLO County Office of Education was awarded funding through the California Apprenticeship Initiative.

After eight weeks of training, the first cohort graduated in September. Seventy percent of the students moved forward into the paid apprenticeship part of the program, with about half learning IT networking and security and the other half learning about software testing for six weeks. The apprentices then will begin a year of salaried, on-the-job training with local employers. The other 30 percent of the students were introduced to local employers for immediate job openings.

During the graduation, Amy Kardel, president and co-founder of Clever Ducks, a managed IT services provider based in San Luis Obispo, and chair of CompTIA, told the students, “If there’s a will, there’s a way. This industry allows you to learn every day. Welcome to our tech community.”

Graduate Madeline Gorge, who’s moving onto the networking and security apprenticeship track, remarked, “This class could have become a competitive environment, but instead we helped each other get better.”

Graduate Elissa Murray, who’s moving along to the same track as Gorge, echoed her sentiments, “We all pitched in to make us successful.”

Several students remarked on how inspiring and dedicated their teachers were. “I’ve had a blast. I didn’t realize how fun education can be,” said graduate and future apprentice Kevin Tran.

Graduate Justin Rucker summed up the program as “this is like the golden ticket.”

Role:  Donor