If you’re looking for a job and interested in learning valuable tech skills during your hunt, several programs around the country can help. States are working with educational partners like Coursera to provide these essential skills for unemployed workers.
An effective tech training program should take less than a year to complete and ideally be 12 weeks or less, according to Beth B. Davis, vice president, training and analytics, at SkillUp Coalition, a nonprofit organization comprising more than 60 partners that include training and education providers, tech firms, employers and philanthropies.
Training programs should also offer “wraparound” services such as résumé and interview preparation and direct contact with employers. Also consider training that is compatible with a program like the Google Open Certificate program. However, the training programs don’t have to be tied to a four-year degree, Davis noted.
If you are unemployed (or even if you’re not) and you seek a tech training program, here are tech training programs to consider.
New York State and Coursera
In New York State, the Department of Labor partners with online learning company Coursera to provide tech training to unemployed workers.
New York teamed up with Coursera because of the ability for workers to learn new skills, earn certificates and grow their careers without a fee, according to the NYS Department of Labor. The lack of cost lets unemployed workers try out a tech training program and reskill from a different career path without having to use their personal resources, NYS DOL added.
The program teaches topics on DOL-specific program pages. Topics include mechanical engineering, project management and data science. In addition, the NYS DOL offers courses in Technical Support Fundamentals, Python Programming and Social Media Marketing.
Cincinnati Talent Acceleration Program
The Cincinnati Talent Acceleration Program (CTAP) is a 15-week program that lets low-income, unemployed and underemployed workers learn tech skills while continuing their education. Upon completing the program, students can become eligible for a scholarship at the University of Cincinnati’s School of Information Technology, where they can learn skills in areas such as cloud computing and cybersecurity. The program pays students $200 a week for living expenses.
CTAP prepares students for positions as an entry-level computer and user-support specialist. It provides workforce training and courses in basic Microsoft Office Suite, culminating in CompTIA certification.
SkillUp is a career resource that launched in July 2020 to aid workers hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in upskilling and finding a job, according to Davis. It partners with states like Ohio and Connecticut to help unemployed workers gain the tech skills they need to find employment.
The organization provides career coaching and vets IT training partners to help unemployed workers upskill for that next position. It offers an assessment for workers to fill in answers about their skills and interests. The service then provides access to training partners that may be a good fit. SkillUp directs users to programs that can provide training in customer service, web development, and data engineering with Google Cloud and Amazon Web services fundamentals, Davis said.
IT support is another key area of focus for training, according to Davis: “IT help desk is a career that we've seen a lot of success with workers taking programs that are one to four months and getting employed very rapidly.”
SkillUp offers scholarships of up to $1,000 to pursue a training program. Companies such as Per Scholas offer free tech training. It also collaborates with a company called Apprenti, which focuses on in-person training.
“The best providers are the ones who take an interest in that student well beyond when they complete the classwork,” Davis said.
Amazon Web Services is working with states such as Connecticut to train unemployed residents in cloud computing. On Oct. 18, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont announced the collaboration between the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU), Connecticut Office of Workforce Strategy and AWS to offer technical skills training to more than 2,000 Connecticut residents by 2024. CSCU will implement the AWS Academy program to offer cloud computing courses.
Amazon will help unemployed workers gain applied-learning experiences in cloud computing architecture, AWS core services, gaming, artificial intelligence (A.I.) and cybersecurity. The cloud computing training will prepare students for AWS certifications such as Cloud Practitioner at the foundational level and SysOps Admin, Developer and Solutions Architect at the intermediate level.
“For individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, this statewide initiative will enable access to cloud computing skills training that will give individuals the opportunity to reskill and re-enter the workforce,” said Kim Majerus, vice president, U.S. Education, State and Local Government at Amazon Web Services. “Learners can also access self-paced online training courses and labs from AWS through this initiative.”
The Job Hackers
The Job Hackers is a nonprofit organization started in October 2017 out of San Francisco by veteran software developer Larry Apke, the company’s chief Agile officer, and Dave Rawlings, the chief of operations. The company provides a free six-week Agile and Scrum Bootcamp called Agile MBA and has trained hundreds of unemployed people. The Job Hackers trains students for jobs as project managers, product owners and scrum masters, which ensures that companies adhere to Agile values. A scrum framework involves teams of 10 or fewer that sprint toward product development goals in timeframes of about two weeks; they work on incremental releases of a product. Instead of paying a fee to take the class, participants donate time to the Bay Area community.