The CompTIA Educational Foundation recently formed a partnership with Bender Consulting with the goal of trying to place veterans and individuals with disabilities in full-time jobs after they acquire CompTIA certifications.
It's all part of CompTIA's Creating Futures program, which began in July 2007. In its first year of existence, CompTIA saw 400 participants through the program, with roughly 40 percent of them successfully acquiring CompTIA certifications. This year, the association has more than 500 participants in the program. About three-fourths of the program's population is comprised of veterans, and of that population, almost 50 percent are disabled.
Bender, a consulting firm, only places individuals with disabilities.
"We will provide [Bender] with candidate information of individuals who are disabled – whether they be veterans or not – who have gone through the Creating Futures program and who have obtained CompTIA certifications for employment," said Amy Alexander, Creating Futures program manager. "That's the only pool that they work with; they are a national company and contract throughout the world for providing positions for individuals with disabilities." Fully utilizing this capacity, the Creating Futures program will be placing its participants wherever Bender has openings across the globe.
The Creating Futures program works with anyone from 17 years of age upward. Through Bender, it will place people into positions ranging from entry level, such as help desk, to more advanced, such as networking.
Alexander spoke of the motivation behind the program. "IT industry leaders came to CompTIA and said, ‘You're our IT association. We see a skills shortage. What can you do for us?' And that's how the Creating Futures program was developed," she said.
It was research that prompted CompTIA to settle on its target audience for this program: veterans and individuals with disabilities.
"We had a vast list of different audiences and we polled employers, organizations and employment companies and came up with a couple audiences. Those are individuals with disabilities, veterans, dislocated workers, youth at risk, women and minorities," Alexander said. Employers of all stripes agreed that "these populations were underserved within the IT industry and we wanted to build diversity."
Alexander pointed to one factor that may temporarily limit the effectiveness of the partnership going forward: the current lull in hiring. "Once our economy improves and more employers are hiring, we have a lot of veterans and individuals with disabilities whom we can provide assistance to," she said.
Diminishing overseas conflicts will likely fuel an increase in the success of the program as well, Alexander explained. "We see more and more disabled veterans transitioning out of the service and we'll have the training and certification there and then hopefully employment for them," she said.