Last week, a graduation ceremony was held for the first seven graduates of Start IT, a private-public collaboration between Racine County Workforce Solutions and Leeward Business Advisors, at the George Bray Neighborhood YMCA, where the training was held. Read more about the graduation in the Journal Times
This past year, Higher Expectations brought key partners together around the need for skilled Information Technology (IT) employees within Racine County. The goal of the newly formed IT Network was to address industry demand by increasing opportunities for unrepresented populations in our community. Early on, the IT Network identified three opportunities for impact: retooling adults, K-16 pipeline and increasing community awareness.
The network launched its first initiative – Start IT, a place-based IT employment and training opportunity focused on unemployed or underemployed adults between 18 and 24 years of age, in fall 2017. Start IT, a partnership between public and private sector, launched at the George Bray Neighborhood YMCA with a cohort of 7 participants. During the program, participants:
- Earned 5 college credits from GTC
- Received extensive one-on-one mentoring from a seasoned IT professionals and Workforce Solutions staff member
- Earned $10/Hr while learning the basic skills of a IT Support Specialist and working as an IT Support Specialist
- Tested for A+ certification
Cohort participants are now completing a 6 month internships with one of our partner companies (e.g. Twin Disc, Modine Manufacturing, Leeward BA and Racine County).
Chuck Goodremote, retired Modine Manufacturing CIO and member of the IT Network, served as the seasoned IT Professional for the first cohort. When asked about lessons learned, Chuck indicated that that innovative, place-based approaches (such as StartIT) that are collaborative efforts between business, education and workforce development have merit in addressing unemployment in our community. Chuck also said that “based on my experience as the IT Professional mentor, I believe that programs such as this should be asset based and need to address the whole person”.
Employers that are interested in hosting an intern should contact DeAnn Possehl at email@example.com.