How CompTIA Training Helps the Public Workforce System Narrow the IT Skills Gap – Part 2
How does innovative support from CompTIA Tech Career Academy’s Custom Training help the nation’s public workforce system narrow the tech skills gap in the U.S. job market?
In a recent episode of our award-winning podcast, Technologist Talk, Aaron Smith and Ramsey Olivarez, executives at the workforce development agency C2 Global, sat down with host R.C. “Bob” Dirkes to explain how they work with CompTIA Tech to re-skill and up-skill workers in Texas and Florida.
Smith, who is C2’s chief operations officer, and Olivarez, who is C2’s chief innovation officer, agree that CompTIA certifications are valuable elements in entry-level IT training.
Smith elaborates in this edited transcript:
Aaron Smith: CompTIA has been a valuable training partner that we can use to take somebody who did not have an IT background and quickly scale them up and get them into a pathway that's going to let them progress pretty quickly.
We try to connect people with employment. It's just that simple. Every day, we deal with folks who come into the centers, and we try to make the most immediate connection we can with the job they're qualified for.
If we have folks who need additional skills in order to be marketable in the labor market, then we'll work with them, too, and that's a longer-term process, but it's essentially heading toward the same goal. We're trying to get people plugged into the labor market, get them in at a sustainable livable wage, and in a career path they can progress in.
While we're not a tech company per se, we do embrace the ideals of a tech company and trying to move our organization in that way. At the heart of it, we're a service company, but I would look at it like a tech-enabled service company.
Every single community that we operate in has a thriving tech sector, and the skills that are required in that tech sector when we work with employers, what we find, they're hard to nail down. They're not traditional college routes, a lot more focused on stackable credentials, certifications. And I think IT looks at it a little differently than other industries. So, absolutely, we focus on the IT skills gap continuously… in every single region.
Ramsey: One of the things that really reassured me that this was the way to go is some of our boards that we work for, they have IT staff, and their IT staff were putting the CompTIA credentials as little stickers are on their [email] signatures.
IT staff are smart and really know what they're doing. And when they're proud to have the CompTIA certificates in every email that goes out, it was really cool to see that… they value it. And doing that for our job seekers, to give them that same thing, I think it was really neat.
Bob: Aaron, do you consider CompTIA's position as an organization that's developing, setting, and assessing tech skills? Is that the heart of its value as a training partner?
Aaron: These are their credentials. Their curricula point us, in the most efficient way… toward attaining those certificates and credentials. And so, in my mind, CompTIA is invaluable. I'm excited about the early results we have with CompTIA and using them in this way, and I think that's going to continue to bear fruit for us.
We talked a lot about workforce boards and where this funding comes from, but that's generally referred to as the public workforce system. And in my mind, I've done this work for quite a while, that system can be clunky and bureaucratic. I think it's important for workforce boards and workforce systems to look for progressive ways to do what we're doing, to provide services to folks, to short circuit the process, to get them results faster.
And so, I would encourage anybody in the workforce system, if you're in that public workforce system, give us a call. We'll let you get under the hood and take a look at the [CompTIA] model, because I think there is a lot of value in what we're doing [together], and there's a lot of value in how quickly people are getting results…
…I'm confident that if we keep going down this direction, we're going to prove out a concept that other folks are going to want to learn. And hopefully there are systems that we don't work with that start to take a hold of this and learn the lessons that we're learning and really start to make a difference in people's lives.
Because I think it's right there to be had.
Technologist Talk is a podcast produced for Creating IT Futures, CompTIA’s tech workforce charity, featuring conversations with business leaders, workforce professionals and talent developers about shaping the careers of today’s and tomorrow’s technology workers.