“IT On Demand” Program Celebrates Graduation, Boasts 100% Placement Rate

PROVIDENCE, RI Tech Collective, Rhode Island’s IT and Bioscience industry association, held its “IT On Demand” program graduation on Friday, Dec. 20 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick. All 16 participants successfully completed the program, with 8 placed in internships and 8 placed in fulltime jobs to date.

The IT On Demand program is funded by a Governor’s Workforce Board Rhode Island Innovative Partnership Grant along with the Community College of Rhode Island’s Pathways to Advance Career Education (PACE) program.

Designed and delivered with industry involvement, Tech Collective’s IT On Demand program is geared at unemployed and underemployed mid-level IT practitioners. The program aims to ‘skill up’ participants and prepare them to re-enter the workforce. The 14-week pilot run of the program began in September and consisted of three training components: technical, business, and experiential.

Philip Terrien is an IT on Demand participant who is completing his internship at Envision Technology Advisors. Addressing the graduation audience and employers, Terrien acknowledged his job search struggle, saying “I’ve been trying to get in touch with all of you for a long time. But it wasn’t happening from my basement lab.”

Terrien continued: “In Rhode Island we are lucky to have businesses becoming creative in their talent search and finding untapped resources through programs like IT On Demand. In the last eight weeks I have earned three valuable certifications, but even more importantly, I have expanded my professional network exponentially. I have discovered that I have an ability to run effective team meetings and organize projects through my business management training at Bryant University. I didn’t know I could do that.”

From a candidate pool of more than 50 applicants and after attending a morning of “speed dating” with industry representatives, the 16 IT On Demand participants were ultimately selected by Rhode Island IT employers. Participants then entered a rigorous curriculum that included:

–          Technical Training: the most in-demand technical practice area as chosen by area IT employers. For this session, employers chose VMware Data Center Virtualization, with training to be provided by New Horizons. Participants additionally have the opportunity to become VCP5-DCV certified.

–          Business:  including customer service, critical thinking, communication, and project management. Bryant University’s Executive Development Center was chose to deliver the business skills training, with participants earning a Business Management Certificate.

–          Experiential: an 8-week, hands-on learning component with a RI IT employer. Employers interviewed and selected participants for the internship positions.

Ten Rhode Island IT employers hosted IT On Demand participants for experiential learning internships, including: Atrion Networking Corporation; Brave River Solutions; Carousel Industries; Envision Technology Advisors; netsense, a division of INNOVEX; PC Troubleshooters; R&B IT Solutions; the Rhode Island Foundation; Rite-Solutions; and the State of Rhode Island, Joint Committee on Legislative Services.

Participant Shaun McElreath shared the impact the IT On Demand program has had on his life: “In my job search, I had gotten in touch with Chris Selwyn at Tech Collective through an ad online. He actually had to sell me on this program, which I was not very receptive to at first. I told him I needed a job, not more training. Thankfully, I took Chris up on the IT On Demand offer because it has changed mine and my family’s life in a very short time. Now I am at an incredible company and the network I have developed with my IT On Demand associates and Tech Collective I’m sure will last for years to come. I hope for the benefit of many that more opportunities like this can be provided to individuals that just need a chance to shine.”

McElreath, along with fellow participant Brendon Moore, were both hired by Carousel Industries.

“Carousel is privileged to be among the tech companies who were involved in this endeavor to better the lives of unemployed-yet-highly-skilled IT professionals – and to better our own team at the same time,” said Jenn Ward, convergence supervisor at Carousel Industries. “It was a pleasure to attend the IT On Demand Graduation Breakfast and learn about the work that’s been done, as well as hear the stories of each of the 16 graduates. We are so happy to have Shaun and Brendon join our team!”

“The success of the IT On Demand program was more than we could have expected,” said Kathie Shields, Tech Collective’s executive director. “We had companies actually bidding for candidates! It was exciting for us, but even more so for the participants, who were now infused with not only technical and professional skills, but also confidence in themselves and their abilities. The key was being able to act as a ‘connective tissue’ – working with employers, practitioners, and training providers throughout the entire program. In doing so, we were able to open opportunities that otherwise just wouldn’t have happened.”

A second IT on Demand session is scheduled to be held in Spring 2014, with the technical training to focus on software development. Interested employers or program candidates should contact Chris Selwyn, manager of training and career development for Tech Collective, at (401) 521-7805 x108 / cselwyn@tech-collective.org. More information about Tech Collective’s IT on Demand program can be found at www.tech-collective.org.

About Tech Collective:
Tech Collective is Rhode Island’s Bioscience and Information Technology Industry Association. Uniting industry, government and academic stakeholders, our mission is to inspire, engage, educate and employ a high-skill, high-wage Knowledge Economy in Rhode Island. Since its transition from the Rhode Island Technology Council (RITEC) in 2004, Tech Collective has received more than $8M in federal, state and private grant funding to foster industry and workforce awareness, collaboration, and development through forums and initiatives including: Tech10, GRRL Tech, Women in Technology, Bio-Ed, and STEM-based education and training programs for K-16 students as well as incumbent and transitioning workers. Get connected to Tech Collective at www.tech-collective.org, on Facebook (TechCollectiveRI), Twitter (@Tech_Collective), and on Linkedin (Tech Collective).

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