by Mindy Kyle
Local Non Profit Organization, CompTIA
In Downers Grove Is Creating I/T Futures
DOWNERS GROVE–We are over a year now in pandemic mode, and although we are beginning to lighten up restrictions, the wake has left hundreds of thousands of individuals unemployed or under-employed. At the same time, half a million tech jobs are vacant in the United States at any point in the year, some 90,000 of these are entry-level positions. However, knowing that many people can’t afford training programs, CompTIA, headquartered in Downers Grove, developed a charitable foundation called Creating IT Futures that provides training in the tech industry nationwide to those in need, helping them obtain long-term financial security.
Creative IT Futures offers a free, intensive, short-term tech training and job placement program tied to the CompTIA A+ certification. This certification will help someone land an entry-level tech job, such as help desk support, that will offer a family-sustaining wage. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, help desk support pays a median hourly wage of $26 – significantly more than one would find in retail, hospitality or service industries. “In 2019, 84 percent of our students graduated, and 88 percent of graduates landed a full-time paid position as an IT professional,” says Charles Eaton, CEO of Creating IT Futures and Executive Vice President of Social Innovation at CompTIA. “Our graduates tell us they are paying off debts, saving for retirement, getting bonuses and promotions, buying houses and raising families.”
Creating IT Futures has also expanded the foundation’s work to tech-related STEM education. “We are very focused on ways to create more tech industry on-ramps specifically for women and people of color, as they continue to be under-represented in the field,” says Eaton. In 2017, they expanded their programs into middle schools and high schools, and later acquired TechGirlz, an innovative non-profit providing free hands-on tech workshops to middle school girls. The TechGirlz program is always looking for volunteers to host workshops for their middle school audience.
Creating IT Futures is philanthropically run, relying on individuals and corporate partners. For more information on donating, volunteering or their programs, visit www.creatingitfutures.org. “So many of the challenges we face globally could be solved if we provided someone with a meaningful career and living wage,” says Eaton. “We are proud to bring new tech talent to the industry that would otherwise not be there, simply because they lacked the opportunity to enter the tech field by other means.”