To gain employment in the expanding Information Technology (IT) sector, an applicant needs targeted IT skills. They also need to speak English well enough to function in a high-paced IT environment.
At the BMCC Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, students cover both those areas at once. In the Center's IT Career Pathways Program, they sharpen their ability to speak English while gaining nationally recognized technical skills through CompTiA A+ and CISCO Networking certified training.
“This is what’s referred to as Integrated Basic Education Skills Training, also known as the I-BEST model, blending English Language skills with IT training,” says Sunil Gupta, Dean of Continuing Education and Workforce Development.
“We have been providing I-BEST training with excellent results for more than ten years," he says, "and now, with generous funding from The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation, we have expanded that model to also provide participants with stackable credits toward an Associate in Science or A.S. degree in Computer Science at BMCC.”
Pulling the lens back and looking at more long-term student goals is always a consideration, Dean Gupta explains.
“It’s all connected. Students who enter bachelor’s degree programs with associate degrees are more likely to graduate than similar students who transfer without one. Going back a couple steps, our IT Career Pathways Program, with its stackable credentials, creates the bridge to that associate degree.”
In the short run, he says, students are equipped to leave minimum-wage jobs for better employment in the IT sector. In the long run, they can earn advanced degrees that reflect more specialized goals in IT or related industries.
Graduates of the IT Career Pathways Program also complete IT internships and take part in career coaching and job interview practice sessions.
December 14 Completion Ceremony
At the December 14 Completion Ceremony, Jose Flores, Director of Workforce Development, served as Master of Ceremony. Steven Nuñez, Senior Program Coordinator, spoke during the ceremony and presented awards. Ricardo Rodriguez, an IT consultant, was the Employer Speaker, and closing remarks were delivered by Stacie Evans, Adult Literacy Advisor at the Office of Workforce Development in the NYC Mayor's Office.
Dean Gupta also congratulated the graduates. “First let me say that you wouldn't be here today if you didn't sacrifice your time and commit to the rigors of this 22-week program,” he said, and thanked The Carroll and Milton Petrie Foundation and its Executive Director, Beth Leaf, “for believing in our program and creating an opportunity for our students to achieve their dream of working in the IT Sector.”
Of 22 students who started the program, "19 completed their course work, their A+ certification, their CISCO certifications and their internships,” Gupta said. “That is a remarkable success rate. You are off to a good start, on a path to a successful career in IT and wherever your goals take you.”
Students honored in the IT Career Pathways program included Pabel Acevdo, January Me Bacus, Rafael Ceballo, John Chao, Jian Lim Choong, Manika Darani, Gabriel De Jesus, Arash Izadi, Chris Lewis, Zhiying Liang, Abdulaziz Mohammed, Dmitriy Romendik, Laura St. Fleur, Fabian Tacuri, Francois Titti Bihai, Raul Vasquez, Tiantian Xia, Mikhail Zaporozhtsev and Mohammed Zubair Ahmed.
Manika Darani received the Most Improved Student Award, and Rafael Ceballo received the Student Achievement Award.