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Employer Success Story

Submitted By: Carolyn Vang-Walker, Ventura Adult and Continuing Education
Consortium: Ventura County Adult Education Consortium

Local IT guild partnership facilitates employment of CTE graduate

Engagement Type(s): Advisory Board, Hired Student, Internship

The Challenge

In April 2017, the Workforce Education Coalition started a regional IT guild designed to offer local employers an opportunity to identify industry needs in the field. The challenge was to find qualified, entry-level employees who possessed the IT industry certifications and basic skills necessary to retain employment. Guild and Ventura Adult Continuing Education (VACE) advisory committee members helped by offering unpaid internships, on-the-job-training opportunities and jobs. Another challenge emerged when VACE placed a deaf career technical education (CTE) graduate at an internship. Initially, the employer was concerned about his ability to communicate with the student, who was skilled and focused, with both A+ and N+ certifications.

The Solution

A number of organizations partnered to find a solution that led to the student intern eventually becoming a valued, full-time employee. The student immigrated from India to the United States during high school. He learned American Sign Language when English was not his first language. While attending CTE training, interpreters were provided by VACE and the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), as needed. However, he used technology to communicate through text, thereby making it possible to successfully interact with others during the internship. A concerted effort was made to develop an on-the-job-training site at STS Technology. A job coach was provided to facilitate the interview and to ensure that the student transitioned into the work environment. Networking and support from the members of the IT Guild, Workforce Education Coalition and VACE’s Program Advisory Committee were key elements to success.

Outcomes

The employer was able to hire a highly skilled computer technician capable of utilizing the analytical and troubleshooting skills he learned as part of a CTE program offered through VACE. The internship provided the employer with an opportunity to test the student's skills before committing to hire. The DOR assisted with the job coaching. Initially, the student served as a “bench tech,” until his greater capabilities became clear. The school was able to successfully provide the IT Program Advisory Committee members with a valued employee. Lastly, the IT guild was able to fulfill its goal by offering a local employer an opportunity to identify its needs and be provided with a well-trained candidate to hire.