IT Certifications Get a Renewed Focus for Unemployed

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2010-01-11 Print this article Print

Industry organization CompTIA is promoting a new program to promote technology certifications--including a specific program called "Getting America Back to Work" targeting unemployed IT workers.

"The current employment market for high-tech workers can best be described as a paradox," said Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA in a statement. "At a time when unemployment is at its highest level in more than a quarter century, hiring managers struggle to fill tens of thousands of jobs requiring certain high-tech skills."

CompTIA has set up this program in conjunction with local state employment organizations including Workforce Investment Boards and One-Stop Career Centers. Workforce investment boards exist regionally to publicly fund employment and career training, and publish research. They are made up of business leaders, labor unions, and educational organizations like community colleges. At least 50 percent of a Workforce Investment Board has to be made up of private business, so there is a balance between public and private entities.

"There are costs associated with some of the career assessments, training and certification exams. But in the case of people out of work there is funding available through their local Workforce Investment Boards to pay for these things," said Thibodeaux in an email to me about costs associated with the program. "The only cost that CompTIA assesses for this program is the cost of taking our certification exams, which typically range from $180 to $250 per test."

From the CompTIA press release:

The Getting America Back to Work program is designed to streamline the process that Workforce Investment Boards and One-Stop Centers use to place unemployed individuals, career changers and people new to the workforce into an IT job. The process has just four steps:

Assess - MeasureUp, Inc., an assessment and certification practice test company, provides an aptitude test to measure an individual's technical knowledge and ability to determine if they should pursue a career in IT.

Train - Individuals who show promise can take IT certification classes at one of CompTIA's Education to Careers member schools or commercial training providers that teach to the skills required for certification.

Certify - CompTIA's vendor-neutral certifications map to the skills required for many of the open IT jobs across the country; and many employers mandate or prefer IT professionals with industry certifications. At this step, individuals are directed to the right certification test upon completion of their training.

Place - A job placement tool filters through local job opportunities by zip code and job titles that are consistent with the skills covered by CompTIA certifications to hasten the placement process.

To find a One-Stop Career Center in your state, look here.

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