Downers Grove, IL - A non-profit program that trains unemployed and underemployed workers and places them in six-month-long apprenticeships in the information technology (IT) field will launch in five metro locations in 2012, the Creating IT Futures Foundation announced recently.
The IT-Ready Apprentice Program will cover the costs of recruiting, training and certifying workers to provide help desk, call center and technical customer support for qualifying companies.
The apprenticeship program will launch in Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Minneapolis / St. Paul and San Antonio, with the first wave of apprentices starting work as early as June 2012.
IT-Ready was developed by the Creating IT Futures Foundation, which has been helping individuals in need and populations under-represented in the IT industry prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers since 1998 when it was first established by CompTIA, the non-profit association for the IT industry.
"IT-Ready is an easy and cost-effective way for companies to give back," said Charles Eaton, the foundation's executive director. "IT-Ready apprentices aren't college interns. An apprentice is expected to help the host company meet its goals, while simultaneously building his or her technical and professional skills."
Businesses lose thousands of dollars when they make bad hires. Consequently, the apprenticeship model has gained popularity among American companies as a skills-focused way of ensuring that their workers are properly trained.
The IT-Ready Apprentice Program will place a special focus on recruiting individuals who have been hardest hit by the lack of jobs, including military veterans and their spouses, and African Americans and Hispanics, Eaton said.
With this model, IT-Ready handles recruitment, training and payments to the apprentice, making the HR process easy for the employer. The program also provides an Online Mentor to help coach the apprentice. An Onsite Mentor who is different from the apprentice's supervisor is provided by the employer.
Employers are welcome to offer an apprentice full-time work at the end of the term, but there is no requirement to do so, Eaton said.
"Obviously, the end goal is that apprentices go on to satisfying, lifelong IT careers," Eaton said. "Some companies will hire their apprentices full time, others won't. But just having CompTIA certifications plus on-the-job experience on their resume is a huge step forward for that individual."
The first locations for the apprenticeship program were chosen for several reasons including IT job growth and worker need. The IT industry has fared better than most industries, with lower unemployment than the national average. In addition, the industry reports a large number of positions going unfilled. Estimates place the current number of open IT jobs across the country at between 200,000 and 400,000. Many of these jobs are unfilled because companies locally can't find enough workers with the right skills.
To ensure receiving an IT-Ready Apprentice, employers should sign up with the program by the end of January 2012, Eaton said.
More than being simply a cost-effective way for employers to find new talent, the IT-Ready Apprentice Program is a way for participating companies to show they are impacting families in their local communities.
Much charitable work in society addresses the symptoms of joblessness, including worsening finances, hunger, mental health issues such as depression, and poor health due to lack of insurance.
Said Eaton: "Our Foundation's tagline is, ‘A Career in IT Changes Everything.' It's like the old adage of teaching a person to fish. You feed them for a lifetime instead of just for one meal. Company executives see how they really can change everything for individuals and families in need by helping someone embark on a lasting career."
Companies that are in one or more of the five target locations (Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Minneapolis / St. Paul, and San Antonio) should contact the Creating IT Futures Foundation right away to sign up or learn more. Please contact: Amy Spear, IT-Ready Program Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org / (630) 678-8411.