JFCS’ IT Pathways program provides career advancements that lead to family-sustaining wages
By Leah Temkin • IT Pathways and Dislocated Worker Program Manager
Governor Tim Walz has proclaimed April 2021 Technology Month in Minnesota. ”It’s an opportunity to draw attention to our technology sector and workforce and its importance to Minnesota’s economy,” the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) said in a statement. “While the importance of these jobs has been highlighted during the pandemic, technology workers have been in demand in Minnesota’s economy for a long time and represent some of the highest-paid, best jobs in our state.”
In Minnesota, the two industries that are consistently growing, even during the pandemic, are health care and IT (information technology). IT offers terrific opportunities to people who, for one reason or another, do not have much formal education, but can learn new practical skills and achieve stackable credentials that lead to career advancement.
Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis (JFCS) has been a leader in career development services since its founding in 1910. One of the ways we provide support in times of need is by offering short-term trainings that lead to industry-recognized credentials and put our participants on a career path that leads to family-sustaining wages and provides opportunities for growth.
Our IT Pathways program is funded from a variety of sources, including Minnesota DEED, the City of Minneapolis, and the Greater Twin Cities United Way.
The IT Pathways program:
- Connects individuals with the needed resources to prepare for success in IT jobs. It includes training and support designed to build upon current IT knowledge and skills, moving individuals to the next level.
- Partners with several IT training organizations, including IT Career Lab, CompTIA Tech Career Academy, Prime Digital Academy, and The Software Guild.
- Has served over 2,000 people since its inception in 2013.
IT Career Lab became a training partner in 2017, joining PRISM as the first two tenants in JFCS’ new building in Golden Valley. The partnership with IT Career Lab is a very close one, and is representative of how these collaborations with training partners work. We begin with outreach and recruiting new participants. Both partners engage in these activities, which ensures there are multiple points of entry into the program.
JFCS employment counselors provide career assessment and counseling and develop training and employment plans. IT Career Lab provides training and instruction and technology assistance. IT Pathways provides wrap-around support to the participants, including emergency financial assistance and referrals to community services. JFCS provides participants with job search assistance, such as résumé writing and interviewing preparation, while IT Career Lab engages directly with employers.
Of course, the pandemic changed how we do business. It took us a few weeks, but we created a process that is just as effective and efficient, and is completely virtual. While we are looking forward to living in a pandemic-free world, we have learned valuable lessons this year, the main of which is that we don’t have to be physically present to be there for our communities.