Recently, BMCC’s Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development got some very good news—the department’s Sectorial Workforce Proposal requesting $860,000 in funding to provide computer repair and networking training was granted by the NYC Small Business Services.
This means that 120 participants over a two-year period will have the opportunity to earn industry-recognized credentials. The pilot program also offers internships and job placement services.
“We have a strong network of local employers we’ve surveyed,” says BMCC Dean of Continuing Education Sunil Gupta.
“We learned that job candidates with some workplace experience—as well as industry certification—have a better chance of being hired, so we built an internship component into the project, and it’s an internship with a stipend.”
Employer and training partners
Employer partners including CS Technology, PC Experts, Newberger Berman, and Legal Services are planning to host internships to support the pilot program, says Dean Gupta.
The project not only includes employer partners, but training partners.
During the first eight weeks of the program, participants will complete A+ training in computer repair with Per Scholas, a national nonprofit organization that provides technology education and job placement services for people in low-income communities.
They will also receive career services and “soft skills” training from the Workforce 1 Career Centers, which are administered by the New York City Small Business Services (SBS).
Gaining an edge with industry credentials
After completing the 8-week A+ training with Per Scholas and passing the A+ certification exam administered by COMP TIA, participants become enrolled in the project’s 10-week Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) training course.
The certifications are “stackable,” Dean Gupta explains. “They’re part of a sequence of credentials and they relate to a correlating sequence of higher-paying jobs. They’re also recognized all over the country.”
In addition to technical training, participants will join workshops focused on workplace strengths such as team building and conflict resolution, and they will have the opportunity to receive one-on-one financial coaching on budgeting and credit repair.
A successful combination
“It’s the combination of all these things—the dual certification training in both A+ and CCNA, the experience they’ve gained from their internships, and the one-on-one support—that will give our graduates a significant edge over other job seekers with similar skills and educational backgrounds,” says Dean Gupta.
“Sometimes it’s that one differentiating factor that can make a person who is working incredibly hard to improve his or her life, finally get that break they need.”
The project is also unique in that it encompasses a partnership that is “not only extremely cost-effective, but it enables us to provide the very best training from different agencies around the City,” he says, “and since it’s a pilot program, we’re paying close attention to what we would need to do in order to scale this kind of training up to an even larger capacity.”
The new IT training program will begin in Fall 2013.