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CompTIA partners with Queens organizations to provide free IT, tech career training for local high school dropouts

Jul. 19, 2023 By Ethan Marshall

CompTIA, a leading workforce and IT association, is partnering with Queens Community House and YouthBuild Queens to provide local high school dropouts between the ages of 18 and 24 with free IT and tech career training. Those interested can apply online for the program at comptia.org until July 31, with the program scheduled to begin on Aug. 15.

CompTIA

Photo courtesy of CompTIA

The training program runs for a total of 17 weeks, running three days a week for three hours. It is a part-time live online instructor-led training package, covering important computer curriculum. Even those without prior IT experience will learn everything necessary to become IT certified and get a job in that field. Additionally, those in the program will take part in a series of interactive, soft skills training courses meant to help them move into new IT jobs and up the career ladder.

CompTIA is the technology industry’s global trade association. As advocates for the tech industry and workforce, they offer training programs like this meant to assist people in starting and growing their careers in the field of tech. According to CompTIA Chief Solutions Officer Nancy Hammervik, the association’s mission is to unlock potential.

“The Queens Community House is a great organization that is helping to enrich lives,” Hammervik said. “They have programs for young adults to help them get on good career paths and they’re always looking for training programs that help their local citizens get a leg up and build good careers.”

Hammervik said Queens Community House received a grant from the New York City Department of Labor. As a registered training partner with the Department of Labor, CompTIA’s training programs were recommended to Queens Community House. They then reached out to CompTIA to see if they could build a course for young adults in their district and assist in training them for entry level jobs in tech.

“This is a great collaboration between Queens Community House, YouthBuild Queens and the IBM SkillsBuild program,” Hammervik said. “A lot of times we find that groups have to work together to share funding and recruiting potential learners.”

Some of the things those in the training program will learn about are operating systems, networking, the Cloud, network hardware, troubleshooting, basic security and mobile devices. In addition to receiving technical skills, those in the program will also learn professional skills, courtesy of IBM SkillsBuild. This includes presentation and collaboration skills, learning to be agile in a work environment, problem-solving and critical thinking.

The training also includes preparing for a CompTIA certification exam. This exam is meant to culminate everything those in the program learned across the 17 weeks. Many potential employers require this certification in order for someone to be hired.

In addition to teaching the students the skills needed to pass certification, the program also provides career services. CompTIA is able to match those in the program with potential employers through the vast network of organizations they work with.

“We prepare [the students] for the interview, help them with their LinkedIn page, social media, help them prepare their resume, hold practice interviews and send them out on interviews to help place them,” Hammervik said. “Hopefully, the way it changes their life is that they earn a job and start a career in tech.”

Hammervik said that many of the students with whom they work have encountered barriers and challenges to lucrative jobs. While they may have earned their G.E.D., a high school diploma or equivalency may be required for certain jobs. But she emphasized that there isn’t really a skills gap in the field of tech.

“People get very intimidated by tech,” Hammervik said. “But we say we don’t have a skills gap, we have a confidence gap. We’re trying to encourage many young learners that you can learn tech. It is a trade skill. The median annual salary for tech is 103% greater than the median salary for any other occupation in the U.S. This is a six-figure job. In the last 90 days, there were nearly 750,000 IT positions posted. There’s jobs and they pay well.”

Hammervik noted that this program doesn’t just impact the person they help. It can also have a positive impact on that individual’s family and the community in which they reside.

A pilot program for Queens residents began back in May, with five students. For the August program, 25 seats are available. CompTIA encourages those interested in applying for the program to do so as soon as they can before all the seats fill up. For those that are unable to get a seat for this program, Hammervik recommends they go to comptia.org to find other future training programs or cohorts.

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