Computing Body Targets Tech Worker Discrimination

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The Computing Technology Industry Association is advancing its efforts to promote IT careers to African-Americans and other minorities

.The Computing Technology Industry Association is advancing its efforts to promote IT careers to African-Americans and other minorities.

In a 10 Feb. announcement, the IT industry support advocacy group announced that its CompTIA Educational Foundation is ramping up to help more African-American students enter the IT work force. The group said, “The CompTIA Educational Foundation provided 239 African-Americans with free IT training and certification last year, and another 19 received merit award scholarships to help them further their educational goals.” CompTIA aims to surpass that in 2010.

CompTIA said: “African Americans are finding new tech career success, although they are still somewhat under-represented in the IT workforce. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2008 calculated that approximately 574,000 African Americans worked in IT and related fields. African Americans make up roughly 12.5 percent of the entire U.S. population, compared to only 8.6 percent of the IT workforce.

To help diversify the IT workforce, the Foundation’s Creating Futures program provides training and certification opportunities to U.S. veterans, individuals with disabilities, women, minorities, at-risk youth and dislocated workers. The program works with employers to identify their hiring needs, then tailors its training to help individuals obtain the skills employers require. The Foundation’s IT Merit Awards Scholarships recognise outstanding accomplishments by students and adult learners in both the CompTIA Education to Careers (E2C) and CompTIA Learning Alliance (CLA) programs who have trained for and received CompTIA certification.”

“Our industry can only grow stronger with more diversification and more qualified technicians,” John Venator, president and CEO of the CompTIA Educational Foundation, said in a statement. “IT jobs are available, but we lack enough qualified workers to fill them. With programs like Creating Futures and the IT Merit Awards, we help more individuals launch a career in IT. However, we need more companies and training organizations to step up.”

CompTIA’s statement continued: “Two recent African American merit award winners came from the Barbara Jordan High School (BJHS) in Houston, Texas, a magnet school that makes it possible for students to earn a high school diploma while acquiring career and technical skills in their chosen career. Recognized by receiving the National High Schools that Work Gold award, it was one of only ten recipients to receive the award in 2009. […]

BJHS combines hands-on study with online curriculum. The school works with HP[Hewlett-Packard] and the Houston Community College System (HCCS), but needs more local business support.”

On the subject of the two winners, CompTIA said: “BJHS Seniors Dennis Christian and Lyndon Bolden passed their CompTIA A+ certification tests last fall and already have been accepted into Texas’ top universities. [Christian] will attend Texas A&M University in the fall and plans on majoring in telecommunications. … [Bolden] will attend the University of Texas to major in management information systems.”

“Dennis and Lyndon exemplify the type of bright students our industry wants,” Venator said. “Let’s work together to help even more people join our industry.”

Kevin McDonald, an instructor in the Creating Futures program, said, “Our students need to see where the job opportunities are and what those jobs are like, so that the students can see themselves in those roles. We need more local companies to allow field trips to their offices and job shadowing.”

CompTIA concluded: “Individuals and companies can make a donation and learn about partnering opportunities, and prospective participants can apply for IT training, by visiting the CompTIA Educational Foundation Web site,”

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