Posted: May 11th, 2016

120 Guests joined with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, ProTech, and Tech901 to congratulate the inaugural class

MEMPHIS, May 11th, 2016- The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis along with Mayor Strickland, ProTech, and Tech 901 hosted a celebration of the inaugural IT Training Program on Tuesday, May 10th at the Juice Plus+ Technical Training Center of the Boys & Girls Clubs. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis launched the IT Training Program in November 2015 in partnership with Tech 901. The program provides Memphis-area young adults a rare opportunity to get a head start in a career field with one of the highest projected growth rates – the tech industry.

The classes are held for two hours a day after school, four days a week. Students enrolled will become A+ certified, a computer technician certification that many local employers require for entry-level jobs in the IT industry. The classes provide area high school students internships and opportunities to enter the IT career field immediately if they choose, whether part time or as a full-time career.

Steve Bargiacchi, CEO of ProTech and Central Board member for the Boys & Girls Clubs, stated, “The kids have been at school all day and they have homework to take care of, but they come from 4-6 Monday – Thursday to attend this class and try to move forward with their life and their career. This program helps our kids to have meaningful jobs that lead to careers. It helps the business community: we need a trained, tech-savvy workforce.”

One-hundred and twenty guests attended and were invited to take tours of the Technical Training Center, which in addition to IT, offers training in Logistics, Automotive, Welding, and Culinary. Guests were then treated to the program and dinner prepared by the Culinary students under the leadership of guest Chef Ben Smith of Tsunami. Memphis corporations in attendance included but were not limited to FedEx and FedEx Tech Connect, nexAir, First Tennessee, AT&T, Regions, Methodist LeBonheur, Service Master, Workforce Investment Network, Shelby County Schools, Christian Brothers University, Memphis Chamber, Dell, and more.  

The program focused on the importance of workforce development and specifically as how it relates to the technology industry. Robert Montague with Tech 901 shared, “In 2015 in Tennessee there were 7,000 IT jobs that were open… We graduated 515 computer science majors last year, we are not keeping up. That is incredible opportunity to provide these job certification skills because 91% of employers want to hire tech workers with certification skills. It’s our job to help get them ready to pass the certifications so that we can support the growth plan of Memphis corporations.”

Two of the current students shared with guests the impact the class is making on their future. One student shared, "Through this course I've been able to get the skills to jumpstart my career.” Keith Blanchard, CEO & President of the Boys & Girls Clubs followed by saying, “There is a multitude of ways that Memphis corporations and individuals can support the IT program - equipment donations, volunteer hours, hiring our students, hosting students at your place of business, and monetary donations of one-time gifts or monthly giving.”

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