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Transforming the workforce in Detroit and Philadelphia

TEKsystems and partner Per Scholas celebrate the inaugural graduations of Network Support programs

Dec.30, 2019 | By TEKsystems

TEK Detroit and Philadelphia Per Scholas Fall 2019 students

Full-stack technology services provider TEKsystems and their partner national tech training nonprofit Per Scholas celebrated the inaugural graduations of their Network Support programs in Detroit (November 1) and Philadelphia (October 30).

Through this partnership, TEKsystems and Per Scholas seek to transform the workforce by offering rigorous, tuition-free technology training and professional development. The programs set up adults for successful careers as technology professionals and help close the skills divide for groups underrepresented in technology.

“We have made a connection that is driving our ability at TEKsystems to address an IT skills and labor shortage as well as diversity challenges we face and we all know our cities face,” said Faith Johnson, vice president human resources at TEKsystems. “Personally, I have a passion for giving back and paying it forward, so this partnership has been a light for me as I’ve had the opportunity to watch it grow with Per Scholas and watch each of our cities grow.”

The Network Support program curriculum was designed to help students meet employer and industry demands for entry-level IT support jobs in and around the Detroit and Philadelphia markets. Graduates received CompTIA A+ and Network+ certifications, as well as 15 weeks of hands-on training in troubleshooting and maintaining desktop and mobile devices, company software and network infrastructure.

The 39 graduates, who were chosen from more than 200 applicants, participated in resume and interview coaching from TEKsystems representatives throughout the program. TEKsystems recruiters worked closely with graduates and incorporated them into their talent pipeline for job placements at leading companies in their respective markets. Among the recent graduates from Detroit and Philadelphia, 75% have already been placed.

“We’re not just training people for a job,” said Alanna Hughes, managing director at Per Scholas. “We’re arming our students with transformative business and life skills that result in long-term success for individuals, for their families and businesses across the country.”

Philadelphia graduate and class valedictorian Joshua Keesee said, “As an older individual it was hard to make this transition when you have a lot of responsibilities in life. Per Scholas was the perfect platform to achieve this. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but I learned a lot of new tricks that I’m eager to employ in the field.”

Graduates also have access to a full suite of graduate services from Per Scholas, which provides two years of extensive alumni follow-up and support. On average, Per Scholas graduates will go on to increase their income by upwards of 400% upon completing the program.

“In reality 15 weeks ago I was pretty afraid,” explained Cortez Christian, Detroit graduate and recipient of the Core Values award. “Maybe I was afraid of disappointing my family… Maybe I was just afraid of letting myself down. However, I knew that if I took small steps throughout this journey, I would eventually become successful. No race was won in one giant leap—only through a series of deliberate and purposeful steps can one reach the finish line. So that’s what I set out to do.”

A Per Scholas hiring and training partner since 2013, TEKsystems has hired more than 400 Per Scholas graduates to date, including a significant number in network support positions. With customized training tracks in Detroit, Philadelphia and Boston, Per Scholas will train at least 540 people for cutting-edge tech jobs by 2022.

“For each of you, this has the potential to be life-changing. But it’s only potential,” said Franklin Reed, director of inclusion and diversity at TEKsystems, to the graduates. “Why is that? Because while today no doubt represents an accomplishment worth pausing and celebrating, the real work begins out there.”