CompTIA, NextUp, & TSA: Aligned to Support Teen Technologists

How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM provides parents with a wealth of resources to support their teen’s interest in tech, and turn it into a career. We’re always excited to see organizations striving to provide support for the next generation of technologists.

As part of its NextUp initiative to interest teens in tech careers, CompTIA is partnering with the Technology Student Association (TSA) to expand STEM opportunities, competitions and leadership development. CompTIA will work with TSA to enhance their national footprint via competitions, leadership programming, teacher professional development, marketing and technology applications.

TSA’s membership includes more than 250,000 middle and high school students in more than 2,000 schools spanning 48 states. TSA holds more than 60 STEM competitions at their national conference each year, where middle school and high school students compete in a wide range of contests – from debates about technological advances and their impact, to learning how to code, to designing video games. Plus, every contest involves a leadership training component, so that students not only learn new skills in preparing for the event, but practice leadership as well.

“Funded by CompTIA and managed by Creating IT Futures, NextUp added the Technology Student Association as one of its primary partners, sparking curiosity and passion for technology in teens,” said Todd Thibodeaux, CEO, CompTIA. “Last year with our partners, we reached more than 2,000 middle schoolers. With our new partnership with TSA and their 250,000 teen members, we’re greatly expanding the influence of NextUp and helping more teens understand the possibilities that a tech career can provide. We see huge potential in TSA, envisioning a future where every school can provide hands-on activities to create the next generation of technologists.”

“TSA welcomes the opportunity to work with CompTIA to collectively address the challenge of filling the STEM pipeline. TSA student members want to become the critical thinkers, problem solvers and technologically literate leaders of tomorrow. Our partnership with CompTIA will help make their journey a reality,” said Rosanne White, executive director, Technology Student Association. “TSA provides a pathway for its members to enhance their personal development, address real-world challenges, engage in leadership activities and consider a STEM career. Through this partnership, CompTIA joins dedicated educators, school administrators and parents, who are helping TSA’s 250,000 young members succeed.”

Schools participating in TSA take the study of STEM beyond the classroom to give students the chance to pursue academic challenges among peers with similar goals and interests. Under the direction of their technology and engineering teacher, these students work on competitive events and attend conferences on the local, state and national level. The size of TSA programs at the local and state level vary.

While TSA is heavily active in 35 states, TSA is particularly interested in growing its membership in Arkansas, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Rhode Island. CompTIA staff, members and partners will work with TSA to expand its school participation in those states.

CompTIA members can get more directly involved with TSA by volunteering to participate in or be a judge for the national competition in Atlanta in June. Potential volunteers for the national competition should contact Lynda Haitz, TSA program manager, at lhaitz@tsaweb.org for more information. Volunteers who want to work more at the state level should contact their local TSA leaders. All state TSA websites are listed at http://tsaweb.org/state-conferences.

About the Technology Student Association (TSA)
TSA is a national 501(c)(3) organization for students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). TSA offers a variety of STEM competitions and opportunities for students and teachers. TSA is supported by educators, parents, and business leaders who believe in the need for a technologically literate society. Visit the TSA website for more information.

About CompTIA

CompTIA is the voice of the world’s IT industry. Its members are the companies at the forefront of innovation; and the professionals responsible for maximizing the benefits organizations receive from their investments in technology. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications and public policy advocacy. To learn more visit CompTIA onlineFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter. 

About Creating IT Futures 
Founded by CompTIA in 1998, Creating IT Futures is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at www.CreatingITFutures.org.

Press Contacts:

Lisa Fasold, Creating IT Futures
630-678-8558, lfasold@comptia.org

Steven Ostrowski, CompTIA
630-678-8468, sostrowski@comptia.org

Expanding Opportunities for Students: NextUp and the Technology Student Asscociation

How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM provides parents with a wealth of resources to support their teen’s interest in tech, and turn it into a career. We’re always excited to see organizations striving to provide support for the next generation of technologists.

As part of its NextUp initiative to interest teens in tech careers, CompTIA is partnering with the Technology Student Association (TSA) to expand STEM opportunities, competitions and leadership development. CompTIA will work with TSA to enhance their national footprint via competitions, leadership programming, teacher professional development, marketing and technology applications.

TSA’s membership includes more than 250,000 middle and high school students in more than 2,000 schools spanning 48 states. TSA holds more than 60 STEM competitions at their national conference each year, where middle school and high school students compete in a wide range of contests – from debates about technological advances and their impact, to learning how to code, to designing video games. Plus, every contest involves a leadership training component, so that students not only learn new skills in preparing for the event, but practice leadership as well.

“Funded by CompTIA and managed by Creating IT Futures, NextUp added the Technology Student Association as one of its primary partners, sparking curiosity and passion for technology in teens,” said Todd Thibodeaux, CEO, CompTIA. “Last year with our partners, we reached more than 2,000 middle schoolers. With our new partnership with TSA and their 250,000 teen members, we’re greatly expanding the influence of NextUp and helping more teens understand the possibilities that a tech career can provide. We see huge potential in TSA, envisioning a future where every school can provide hands-on activities to create the next generation of technologists.”

“TSA welcomes the opportunity to work with CompTIA to collectively address the challenge of filling the STEM pipeline. TSA student members want to become the critical thinkers, problem solvers and technologically literate leaders of tomorrow. Our partnership with CompTIA will help make their journey a reality,” said Rosanne White, executive director, Technology Student Association. “TSA provides a pathway for its members to enhance their personal development, address real-world challenges, engage in leadership activities and consider a STEM career. Through this partnership, CompTIA joins dedicated educators, school administrators and parents, who are helping TSA’s 250,000 young members succeed.”

Schools participating in TSA take the study of STEM beyond the classroom to give students the chance to pursue academic challenges among peers with similar goals and interests. Under the direction of their technology and engineering teacher, these students work on competitive events and attend conferences on the local, state and national level. The size of TSA programs at the local and state level vary.

While TSA is heavily active in 35 states, TSA is particularly interested in growing its membership in Arkansas, Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Rhode Island. CompTIA staff, members and partners will work with TSA to expand its school participation in those states.

CompTIA members can get more directly involved with TSA by volunteering to participate in or be a judge for the national competition in Atlanta in June. Potential volunteers for the national competition should contact Lynda Haitz, TSA program manager, at lhaitz@tsaweb.org for more information. Volunteers who want to work more at the state level should contact their local TSA leaders. All state TSA websites are listed at http://tsaweb.org/state-conferences.

About the Technology Student Association (TSA)
TSA is a national 501(c)(3) organization for students engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). TSA offers a variety of STEM competitions and opportunities for students and teachers. TSA is supported by educators, parents, and business leaders who believe in the need for a technologically literate society. Visit the TSA website for more information.

About CompTIA

CompTIA is the voice of the world’s IT industry. Its members are the companies at the forefront of innovation; and the professionals responsible for maximizing the benefits organizations receive from their investments in technology. CompTIA is dedicated to advancing industry growth through educational programs, market research, networking events, professional certifications and public policy advocacy. To learn more visit CompTIA onlineFacebookLinkedIn and Twitter. 

About Creating IT Futures 
Founded by CompTIA in 1998, Creating IT Futures is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at www.CreatingITFutures.org.

Press Contacts:

Lisa Fasold, Creating IT Futures
630-678-8558, lfasold@comptia.org

Steven Ostrowski, CompTIA
630-678-8468, sostrowski@comptia.org

Teen Girls Signal A Solution: Research from CompTIA Report

How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM wants to help solve the tech skills gap by helping young technologists start their careers early, especially young women and members of under-represented communities. Luckily, more teenagers, especially girls, are open to the possibility of a career in information technology (IT), according to a new research report released today by CompTIA, the leading technology industry association.

Seven in ten teenagers surveyed for the CompTIA report “Youth Opinions of Careers in Information Technology” say they are open to the possibility of a career in the tech arena. That’s up from 62 percent in a 2015 CompTIA survey.

Increasing interest among girls is driving the positive momentum. In the latest survey 62 percent of girls between the ages of 13 and 17 said they would consider a tech career, an increase of 11 percentage points from 2015. Among boys, 80 percent have considered technology as a career option to some degree, up from 72 percent in 2015.

“This is a promising sign that we may be headed in the right direction when it comes to attracting new generations of workers into our industry,” said Charles Eaton, CompTIA’s executive vice president for social innovation, CEO of Creating IT Futures and author of “How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide To The T In STEM Education.”

“But the report also identifies areas to address, such as providing young people with more information as they progress through school and focus more intently on career options,” Eaton continued. “Students and their parents are re-thinking education and career options. For some college may be the choice. For others, there are viable alternatives to a four-year degree, especially in the technology field.”

The need to attract a new generation of tech professionals is critical. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that through 2024 more than 1.2 million job openings in IT jobs will need to be filled due to growth and retirements.

What’s Attracting Teens to Tech?

Teens believe that jobs in IT pay well and offer the potential to do creative, interesting work on innovative ideas, according to the CompTIA survey. A majority of teenagers also say a job in tech could provide them with opportunities to make a difference and to help people.

“Of course technology is an integral part of the lives of teens today, with the vast majority going so far as to say they “love” technology,” said Anna Matthai, senior manager, research and marker intelligence, CompTIA. “Teens also realize that the skills they gain from using technology are eminently transferable to future careers.”

When asked about specific areas of IT, designing video games was especially popular among boys, with 65 percent saying they could see themselves working in this area. Other roles that were popular among teenagers included designing apps for smartphones and working in emerging technologies, such as robotics.

But teens also acknowledged some concern about emerging tech. Six in ten have heard about the automation trend; and a slight majority are concerned that it might mean fewer jobs for them in the future.

The majority of students look to schools – teachers and career counselors – to provide information on potential career options. While 72 percent of schools provide students with tech career information, there remains a gap.

Teens also look to family or people they know as reliable sources for career information. But just 33 percent of boys and 24 percent of girls know someone that actually works for a technology company or has a job in technology. (To learn about IT career resources available from CompTIA, please see “NextUp Offers Resources for Students Considering Careers in Tech.”)

CompTIA’s “Youth Opinions of Careers in Technology” is based on a November 2017 online survey of just over 1,000 U.S. teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17. The complete report is available free of charge at CompTIA Insight & Tools.

About CompTIA

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $1.43 trillion U.S. information technology ecosystem; and the more than seven million technology professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the U.S. economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for advancing the tech industry and its workforce. Visit www.comptia.org to learn more.

CompTIA’s NextUp: Kickstarting Tech Careers

New research indicates more teenagers are considering careers in information technology (IT). How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM has tools designed to help parents bust the myths and build the tools necessary to give their kids the necessary boost into the tech industry. To that end, we’re  spotlighting career resources available through CompTIA’s NextUp initiative and other sources.

Seven in ten teenagers say they are open to the possibility of a career in the tech arena, according to the new CompTIA research report “Youth Opinions of Careers in Information Technology.” That’s up from 62 percent in a 2015 CompTIA survey.

But the survey also identifies shortcomings in providing students with comprehensive information to help them make career choice decisions. For example, just 33 percent of boys and 24 percent of girls know someone who works for a tech company or has a job in technology. (For more from the report, please see “Sparked by Girls, Teens Interest in Tech Careers is on the Rise, New CompTIA Research Reveals.”)

“We have the ability to inspire the tech workforce of the future, but we must get to the students,” said Charles Eaton, CompTIA’s executive vice president for social innovation, CEO of Creating IT Futures and author of “How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide To The T In STEM Education.”

“NextUp was created to introduce teens to the many possibilities of technology careers. Through curricula, projects, partnerships and mentorship, we aim to tap into their passion for technology, spark their curiosity and build a generation of technologists for tomorrow,” added Eaton. “Our CompTIA volunteers mentor students in hands-on STEM projects, while sharing why they love their careers.”

NextUp works with partner programs that support and enhance existing youth engagement initiatives through curricula, clubs and camps, and inspire and engage teens through mentorship. These partners include:

  • FUSE, a Northwestern University program that’s expanding and enriching STEAM (STEM plus Arts & Design) learning, with particular attention to IT concepts and skills for students in middle and high school.
  • The New York Academy of Sciences, where CompTIA’s network of IT professionals mentors students attending the academy’s afterschool and summer programs.
  • TechGirlz, which offers fun and educational hands-on workshops, called TechShopz, and an annual Entrepreneur Summer Camp, all aimed at getting middle-school age girls interested in different kinds of technology.
  • The Technology Student Association (TSA),made up of 250,000 students in 38 states who go head-to-head each spring in a number of STEM team-based competitions.

Visit http://www.creatingitfutures.org/developing-programs/nextup to learn more about available programs and resources.

Also Available from CompTIA

The CompTIA Association of IT Professionals (AITP) Student Program matches IT students with mentors to help them learn about and prepare for technology careers. Students can get resume support, mentorship, information on career strategies, and more with their free membership.

Dream IT, a program created by CompTIA’s Advancing Women in Technology Community, has reached more than 10,000 people with the message that technology is a great place for women and girls. Materials are available for the U.S., UK, Australia and New Zealand.

CompTIA’s Academy Partner Program provides valuable tools and resources to assist schools in recruiting, training, certifying and upgrading the skills of their students in IT.  Some 4,500 secondary schools, colleges, universities, and other organizations across North America that provide technology instruction are CompTIA Academy Partners.

About CompTIA

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $1.43 trillion U.S. information technology ecosystem; and the more than seven million technology professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the U.S. economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for advancing the tech industry and its workforce. Visit www.comptia.org to learn more.

If you have any questions about NextUp, please contact:
Steven Ostrowski
CompTIA
sostrowski@comptia.org­
630-678-8468

Sparking the Passion for STEM: FUSE Labs Come to Visit Classrooms

By Michelle Lange

How do young people get started in technology careers? How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM, exists to help parents find the tools to start their children’s tech careers, but what does a successful program for young technologists look like?

A physics challenge called Coaster Boss has taken over Ms. Kelly’s computer technology classroom. Eighth grade students created a roller coaster track of black foam and colorful rubber tubes, and taped it from ceiling to floor in a goofy loop around the room. As they dropped a heavy silver marble down the wall, whizzing under the table, and even around one kid, all eyes stayed glued on the photogate timer, which flashed a record speed when the marble rushed by. “WHOOOOOO!” The room erupted with students immersed in a lesson about velocity.

“You can tell when somebody’s happy when something finally works,” said technology teacher Kelly Lewis, who runs this FUSE Studio in her classroom at Hadley Junior High in Glen Ellyn, IL. Coaster Boss is one of more than a dozen hands on challenges in technology and design that students take on to explore their interests in areas like IT, math, art and science. When something clicks, Lewis said, it’s obvious.

“They’ll scream or yell or come up and show me what they printed on the 3-D printer,” she said. “You get to see their joy when they finished something, especially if they’ve taken a long time to figure it out.”

FUSE is a new kind of interest-driven learning experience developed by researchers and educators at Northwestern University. It’s based on extensive research on interest development and interest-driven learning, and students choose challenges to work on that are based on their own interests. Adult volunteers help Lewis keep track of all the questions that go along with multiple challenges going on at once, and facilitate instead of instructing kids on the challenges.

“They’re completely independent, I think that’s my favorite thing about this,” said Donia Moustafa, who volunteers through a mentoring program that connects CompTIA’s IT pros and FUSE students. The FUSE Studio in Lewis’s classroom is part of the NextUp initiative by CompTIA and Creating IT Futures to interest teens in tech careers. CompTIA and Creating IT Futures partnered with FUSE at Northwestern to equip 21 schools in 9 states with interactive FUSE Studios like this one.

“They take pieces of IT and science and math and make it easier for kids to understand and play with,” said Dale Schwer of Class Com, who volunteers as a CompTIA IT pro. The hands-on learning of FUSE is much different than Schwer’s rigorous and straightforward IT education from 30 years ago. “This brings a piece of the fun into it, so it doesn’t seem like a job.”

FUSE challenges are designed to engage pre-teens and teens in science, technology, engineering, arts, design and math projects and to foster the development of important 21st century skills. FUSE Challenges like Dream Home teach kids the same computer-aided design programs architects use to design real houses. Just Bead It has the kids in glasses and gloves, mixing chemicals to create reactions, and Ringtone lets sound engineers mix beats together and produce digital sounds. Kids who want to be game designers can develop their own Super Mario levels, and other kids design cars for the 3-D printing project Print My Ride.

“They’re getting everything from the ground on up,” said Kimaya Wentworth, who also volunteers with FUSE through CompTIA. Students are learning to code right in front of her. “They’re learning Adobe and Java. They’re learning programs that are going to benefit them in the long run.”

Interest Driven Learning

Students can take as long as they want on each challenge. If they’re interested, they’re encouraged to dig deeper. Schwer can tell kids are interested in a project when they start asking “What happens if…?”

“This whole roller coaster thing is a great example,” Schwer said. “It started with a few kids who could have made the tube, sent the marble down and finished the project. But there’s always a kid in each class who says, ‘What happens if we twist this pipe, so it does the triple loop?’”

A lot of challenges are done independently on in small groups, but Coaster Boss was a magnet. It started with three kids and by the end of class, most of the students were invested with everyone throwing in their ideas.

“When something doesn’t work, somebody else puts their mind to it. To see their minds work to pick up and develop things, that’s really neat,” Schwer said.

Lewis matches those struggling with student experts and instructs them to solve the problem together. The CompTIA mentors communicate where the person may be going wrong and try to help them figure it out and navigate how to fix it.

“You want to get them to problem solve and build resilience, and you’ve got to make them struggle a little,” Lewis said. “I’m always surprised by the students’ willingness to stick with it if something’s not working.”

During her volunteer time, Wentworth sees kids naturally connecting with each other and working in groups. “The kids are problem solving and figuring things out themselves,” she said. That teamwork is her favorite thing outside of the prosthetic hand challenge, where kids take 3-D printed parts and build hands for kids who need them.

“The fact that they make these hands and give them to an organization that ships them overseas is just rewarding,” Wentworth said. “They’re helping another child who doesn’t have access to the same treatment as we do in a first-world country, and I think that’s amazing.”

CompTIA members, IT pros, and technologists of all kinds who would like to volunteer as a mentor for the program can find out more at http://creatingitfutures.org/developing-programs/nextup/fuse-partnership.

Michelle Lange is a writer and designer living in Chicago.

March Workshops to Advance Your Tech Career

Chicago, Minneapolis, and Portland (OR) continue to build their tech communities, supporting new ideas and organizations, and the people driving growth and change. In March we’re highlighting an event in each city, from one for on a specific community, a two-day expo, and events laser-focused on finding tech jobs.

Local events offer you the chance to meet people as you explore general and specific interests. Some events concentrate on specific communities with common skills or demographics. Many offer actions you can take to find the next step in your path. Ask questions, offer support, find mentors.

Below we’ve highlighted an event in each city: Chicago, Minneapolis, and Portland (OR).

Chicago

Muslims in Tech Celebrating the American Dream

Who: Muslims and allies involved in tech.

When: W Mar. 28, 2018. 5:00-8:00 pm

MALA and 1871 present a high-level discussion on using technology for Social Impact Entrepreneurship. Social Impact Entrepreneurship is an innovative and financially sustainable approach to addressing an unmet social, economic, or environmental need (such as better health care, sanitation, or financial security). The innovation may be a product, service, program. The venture a for-profit, nonprofit, or cooperative effort, and the innovation must improve the quality of life of people in measurable ways and demonstrate the potential for scalable impact.

Speakers include:

Tarik Khribech, Founder & CTO of Chore relief. Bashir Muhammad, Project manager and network administrator at NTG. Ahmed Flex Omar, Deputy Director of the Muslim American Leadership Alliance.
Sponsor: The Muslim American Leadership Alliance (MALA), a 501(c)3 civic & community organization committed to promoting individual freedom, diversity, and celebrating heritage.

Sign up here

Fee: $5-$15

When: W Mar. 28, 2018. 5:00-8:00 pm

Where: 1871, Merchandise Mart, 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza #1212


Chicago

Women in Technology 2018 Kick-Off

Who: Women and allies.

When: T Mar. 1, 2018. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

This year’s event will focus on Unplugging Self-Doubt & Increasing Self-Confidence. WITI Chicago provides a local forum for women to network with each other, forge connections, share resources and discover opportunities in the technology industry.

Sponsor: WIT Chicago is the local group of Women In Technology International. WITI goal is to help women advance by providing access to and support from other professional women working in all sectors of technology.

Sign up here

Fee: Free

When: T Mar. 1, 2018. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Where: 77 W Wacker Dr, 51st Floor


Minneapolis

Women Leading in Technology – The Secrets to a Successful Mentoring Partnership

Who: Women

When: T Mar. 13. 4:30 – 7:30 pm

Learn the secrets to a successful mentoring partnership from featured presenter, Stacy Richards, SVP of Menttium, a local, woman-owned company that’s a global leader in formal mentoring programs. This impactful session will cover creating and sustaining a successful mentoring partnership. Participants will: learn what formal mentoring really is and how to prepare oneself to be a great mentee or mentor; work on strategies for developing trust and defining development goals for a mentoring partnership; take away tools and strategies for maintaining momentum in the partnership and giving/receiving feedback effectively.

Sponsor: Women Leading in Technology group within the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA). See other events hosted by MHTA here.

Sign up here

Fee: $30

When: T Mar. 13. 4:30 – 7:30 pm

Where: Metropolitan Ballroom, 5418 Wayzata Boulevard, Golden Valley, MN 55416


Portland (OR)

How to Land a Tech Job in Oregon

Who: People transitioning or advancing in tech.

When: TH Mar. 8. 5:30 – 8:30 pm

Tech job opportunities abound and offer great compensation. A panel of experts will discuss new job opportunities in the region’s tech sector, including the diverse skill desired, and the best strategies for getting in the door. Participants will learn, engage, and talk tech with the right people, and focus on the right jobs that fit their skill set.

During the workshop:

  • Discover avenues for starting and advancing careers.
  • Understand the skill sets tech firms want (beyond coders).
  • Learn how tech recruiters find and vet candidates.
  • Plan to translate existing skill set and experience into the tech sector.
  • Get actionable strategies for connecting with internal and external recruiters.
  • Find opportunities in Portland’s start-up scene.

Sponsor: Mac’s List, a premier resource that helps professionals find meaningful and rewarding work in the region through job listings, search advice, books, podcasts, and online courses.

 Sign up here

Fee: $15-25

When: TH Mar. 8. 5:30 – 8:30 pm

Where: Simple, 1615 Southeast 3rd Avenue, #200, Portland, OR 97214

20 Years of Tech Careers–Happy Anniversary to Creating IT Futures

Read about some of the great work our sponsoring organization has done in this guest post by our author, Charles Eaton, CEO of Creating IT Futures. 

January kicked off Creating IT Futures’ 20th anniversary year. As CompTIA’s tech workforce charity, we’ve been creating opportunities and launching IT careers since 1998.

While always researching and developing new workforce and STEM programs, we’re currently focused on two main endeavors: IT-Ready, our free 8-week, classroom-based tech training program for adults; and NextUp, our initiative with CompTIA to inspire more middle-schoolers to seek tech careers.

Before I came onboard as our CEO in 2010, Creating IT Futures, which was named the CompTIA Educational Foundation at the time, mainly helped military veterans and people in need, particularly people with disabilities, get a leg up in their careers by accessing online training from CompTIA’s partners and vouchers for CompTIA certifications. We also gave out hundreds of small scholarships to high schoolers who passed CompTIA certifications. While those programs certainly helped a couple thousand people, there was a piece missing in terms of making sure people landed IT jobs. We knew we needed to be more hands-on to make sure the tech training and certifications led directly to IT careers.

We spent the next couple of years researching and developing pilots of our IT-Ready career program. IT-Ready has since become one of America’s most effective job training and placement programs with 88 percent of students graduating and 86 percent of graduates landing a full-time paid position as an IT professional. Hear from some of our graduates themselves on how IT-Ready changed their lives.  Last year, IT-Ready expanded to Portland, OR, and Charlotte, NC, and we plan to add more locations and more types of tech training classes in 2018.

NextUp launched last year, engaging with more than 2,000 middle-schoolers via partnerships with FUSE, New York Academy of Sciences and TechGirlz. This year, NextUp adds a new partner to help us reach more students, the Technology Student Association, which runs dozens of student STEM competitions and has more than 250,000 student members.

Throughout this year, we’ll keep you up to date on our latest expansion news, developments and partnerships. We particularly continue to encourage a tech path for populations that traditionally have been under-represented in the information technology workforce, such as women and ethnic minorities.

Thank you for all your support over the past 20 years as we move forward to create more on-ramps for people to prepare for, secure and succeed in IT careers.

CompTIA’s Member Communities Support Underrepresented Demographics in Tech

 

The book, How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM works to close the tech skills gap by helping launch the careers of young technologists from underrepresented communities. We applaud two CompTIA member communities, who are financially supporting charities that encourage women and ethnic minorities to pursue information technology careers.

The Advancing Diversity in Technology community donated $5,000 to Black Tech Mecca, whose mission is to inspire the development of thriving black tech ecosystems to ensure that black people are full participants in the global technology sector. The nonprofit organization uses data to paint a clearer picture of black participation in local tech ecosystems, and then identifies impediments to the engagement and mobility of black tech workers, crafting strategies with local stakeholders for removing barriers and creating opportunities.

The Advancing Women in IT community donated $5,000 to Girl Develop It, a nonprofit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. Through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and everyday lives.

The communities’ respective donations are part of an annual process by CompTIA to give back to local communities through philanthropy, bringing positive awareness to selected charities and CompTIA, and acting as a way of encouraging individual charitable service.

This year, CompTIA’s member communities and councils chose to support 17 nonprofit organizations, giving a total of $170,000 to philanthropic causes.

Promoting gender and ethnic diversity in IT was a clear theme among this year’s contributions by CompTIA communities. Collectively, several communities gave $35,000 to Genesys Works, which helps disadvantaged youths realize their full potential through workplace experience. They also donated $25,000 to TechGirlz, which encourages middle-school girls to explore the possibilities of technology to empower future careers.

Fabian Elliott, the co-founder and CEO of Black Tech Mecca, said the CompTIA contribution would help the organization continue to identify and break down the institutional barriers that discourage people of color from pursuing or advancing in tech careers.

“The contribution from CompTIA is a big help as we continue to disrupt the status quo in building more inclusive tech ecosystems,” he said. “We will use the proceeds to further refine our research on black tech ecosystem development, continue flagship education programming, and stand up our advocacy platform. We also just released our Chicago report, which is first-ever, fully comprehensive black tech ecosystem assessment for a city. CompTIA was one of our sponsors for this report.”

“I am proud to be a part of an organization such as CompTIA for making the donation to Black Tech Mecca. The work Black Tech Mecca is doing to increase the participation of minorities in the tech sector is amazing. The analysis provided in their report, Unleashing Chicago’s Black Tech Ecosystem, presents information on where we stand today and points us in a direction that will not only improve our local economy but the future of our children and grandchildren for generations to come,” said Randolph Carnegie, an executive council member of Advancing Diversity in Technology (ADIT) and president and managing director of Ken-Kor Consulting Inc. “It takes resources to fund objective analysis such as this and I am proud to be a part of CompTIA’s ADIT community.”

Fellow ADIT member Nicole Williams, managing director of Sajiton, echoed Carnegie’s comments: “Black Tech Mecca has been extremely instrumental with its data, research, and ecosystem strategies on how to guide by identifying the reason and actionable solutions on how to close the diversity gap within the technology industry. Their report is an example of how the think-tank adds some valuable insight and guidance on how to engage in closing the technical candidate shortage gap by increasing diversity in the technology industry.”

“The technology industry has seen rapid change in everything from mobile payment to wearables gadgets with this comes more ways people from all cultures interact with the digital world,” added Williams. “With this change comes growth and the tech industry is experiencing a shortage of technology professionals for key positions who can bring a variety of perspectives, viewpoints, and objectivity on how to shape the next wave of technical innovation.”

The ADIT and AWIT Communities are focused on increasing the diversity within the tech workforce and helping their members grow their careers within tech. Like ADIT’s support of Black Tech Mecca, AWIT saw a similar trend with the charity it supported this year, Girl Develop IT.

LeeAnn Kinney, outreach and special initiatives director for Girl Develop It, said the CompTIA donation will help her organization better engage women hailing from underrepresented and low-resource communities.

“These are women who continue to be left out due to multi-factorial socioeconomic disadvantages,” Kinney said. “Our vision is to dig deeper, to burst the bubble, so that we are reaching and empowering minorities through code and community.”

To date, nearly 100,000 women have participated in Girl Develop It classes.

The Advancing Women in Technology community works to empower women with resources and information to positively impact their technology careers and inspire women to choose careers in technology.

The Advancing Diversity in Technology community seeks to be the leading advocate for the advancement of African-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos within the technology industry who have traditionally been underrepresented.

The T in STEM book is proud to support both of these communities!

Don’t Hold the Phone: Fun & Function Come Together at Girl Scouts & TechShopz Collaboration

Girl Scouts plan, prototype and practice UX design in an app design workshop by TechGirlz and Creating IT Futures

By Michelle Lange

How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM has busted some myths about tech careers over the past few months, but one of the most prevalent myths remains that STEM doesn’t interest young girls. In fact, Girl Scouts from Gary, Hammond and Merrillville, Indiana, were so into learning about technology that they loaded onto a bus at 7 a.m. on a Saturday and drove all the way to Chicago for an imagination-based approach to app design.

“We’re thinking about things like function, features and flow,” teacher Andrea Davis-Baptiste told the girls after they’d jumped into the workshop, developed by TechGirlz and delivered to the Girl Scouts with funding from Creating IT Futures. Davis-Baptiste is a programming and computer literacy skills teacher who volunteered to run the day’s TechShopz in a Box workshop, Designing

Mobile Apps. “What problems does it solve for people and why would someone need or want this app?”

In the technology room of St. Agatha’s News School in Douglas Park, the fourth through eighth grade girls took time to brainstorm, collaborate and consider each other’s ideas.

“We’ve got them prototyping and learning the terminology,” said Georgetta Davis, who mentors and assistant teaches with her daughter, Davis-Baptiste, through Eminent Group Consultants. “It’s also an approach to technology using collaboration and teamwork.”

Through the step-by-step lesson, the Girl Scouts got deep into questions about user personas and what kinds of action buttons would look best. They spent the morning playing, thinking and drawing, and also learned wire framing, paper prototyping and why addressing the user experience (UX) is essential to any good technology design.

TechGirlz is a Philadelphia-based organization that has reached 10,000 girls over the past five years with engaging TechShopz that teach everything from putting a computer together to coding to robotics. You can read more about their work in the T in STEM book.

Girls Scouts has its own STEM programming but routinely collaborates with other nonprofits to maximize science and tech learning for its girls. These particular Girl Scouts were part of a special program called Girl Space, which helps fund programming in low-income neighborhoods. The TechGirlz / Girl Space collaboration will involve two groups of Girl Scouts each attending two TechShopz this fall as part of NextUp, an initiative by CompTIA and Creating IT Futures which aims to ignite interest in tech careers among middle-schoolers.

“It made perfect sense while the girls were in the midst of their fall STEM unit to connect them to the TechGirlz curriculum,” said Eric Larson, senior director, IT Futures Labs, Creating IT Futures. “We’re really curious with this pilot to see how the girls respond and whether both parties might want to deepen their engagement.”
TechShopz aim to change the way middle school girls think about technology by teaching skills that working tech professionals use in their daily lives. For example, mobile app designers tend to flesh out their ideas on paper, so they can then accelerate the coding process.

“It gets them working as a team, gives them a chance to do some problem solving and creative thinking,” Davis said.

Immersed in App Ideas

Ede Crittle walked into the room halfway through the workshop and found Girl Scouts researching everything from baby carrots to bubble letters to help inspire their app designs. “You can hear a pin drop,” Crittle said. The director of community outreach for the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana was impressed by how immersed the girls were in their projects.

“It’s a new generation where they are familiar with technology, and it’s important for them to see the inner workings,” said Crittle.

In their rapid prototyping session, the Girl Scouts came up with some wild ideas for their apps while learning that technology can be a creative and challenging career choice. They made up apps based on some of their favorites, like musical.ly, where users pick songs or play games and win prizes at the end. “You can win prizes like free pizza,” explained Girl Scout Meyah as her team of Shimmer and Shine Gamers presented their app.

Another group of Girl Scouts created a food-based app called Enjoy!, full of recipes, ratings and a spot to upload food photos next to professional chefs so people can vote on who made it better. An app called Movie Play got lots of kids excited. It’s a picture-in-picture app that lets you watch movies and play games on your phone at the same time. Some invented app games like Finder, which challenges users to find different shapes, items and themes within the game.

“It sparks their interest in STEM careers,” Crittle said. Supporting this type of creativity and interest in STEM careers is exactly why the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana partnered with TechGirlz, CompTIA and Creating IT Futures.

“The girls can see how their everyday interests can blossom into careers,” Crittle said. “STEM careers are dominated by men and we need girls to understand at a young age that they can be whatever their hearts desire.”

Girl Scouts, leaders and anyone who wants to introduce middle school girls to technology can access the TechGirlz material, including TechShopz in a Box. Get started here.

—Michelle Lange is a writer and designer living in Chicago.

To Tech Careers and Beyond: Charitable Giving from CompTIA Member Community

A member community at CompTIA, the Space Enterprise Council, has donated $10,000 to the nonprofit Federation of Galaxy Explorers.

The contribution is part of an annual process by CompTIA and its IT workforce charity, Creating IT Futures, to give back to local communities through philanthropy, bringing positive awareness to selected charities and CompTIA, and acting as a way of encouraging individual charitable service.

How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology, A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM, is only one of the avenues that Creating IT Futures uses to promote tech careers for young people, especially those from under-represented communities. In all, CompTIA member communities donated $170,000 to worthwhile charities this year.

The Federation of Galaxy Explorers seeks to inspire space-based STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — education in young people. The charity offers fun and dynamic programming in an effort to equalize gender, race and demographic communities in STEM-related career fields.

Nicholas Eftimiades founded the nonprofit organization in 2001 to inspire youth interest in science and engineering. Because the organization runs almost entirely thanks to the time and efforts of volunteers, he said, the Space Enterprise Council’s contribution will fully support programming such as after-school clinics, summer camps and its signature “battle of the rockets” competition.

“We are extremely appreciative of the gift from CompTIA and will be using it to enhance the lives of children and expose them to STEM opportunities,” he said.

Like How to Launch Your Teen’s Career in Technology: A Parent’s Guide to the T in STEM, the Federation has a mission to target its programming toward girls and youths of color, who historically are underrepresented in STEM fields, Eftimiades said, adding that the Federation’s gender-centric after-school clinics have proven to be very popular among girls.

“The response has been amazing; girls flock to these programs,” he said. “And CompTIA helps make this work possible.”

“Stimulating and encouraging students to pursue STEM-related studies and activities early in their academic careers is fundamental to preparing and motivating students to pursue STEM disciplines at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. The Federation of Galaxy Explorers’ K-12 program leverages children’s interest in space to promote a program of after-school studies focused on space and STEM education,” said Earl Madison, director, business development, Lockheed Martin, and an executive council member of the Space Enterprise Council. “Their success is evident as current Galaxy Explorers are applying to enter universities to pursue STEM degrees and as former Galaxy Exploders complete their degrees and enter the workforce.”

The Space Enterprise Council represents all sectors of the space industry, including commercial, civil and national security space. As a forum for space-related companies, the council brings the collective power of its affiliation with CompTIA and its diverse members into a single, unified voice that is used in advocating member interests to policymakers.