The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia’s Work-Tech program provides hands-on training to prepare students for jobs in the cable networking/telecommunications industry. The 12-15 week course, designed by C-Tech Industries, is free to low-income individuals over the age of 18 who have earned a high school diploma or GED.
Students successfully completing the Work-Tech program receive their BICSI Certification within Telecommunications.
“The curriculum from C-Tech provides great training and support to our students,” said Eileen Hence, Director of City Education Programs and Compliance, The Salvation Army Greater Philadelphia.
Through lesson plans, interactive projects, and professional development training focused on broadband systems and computers as it relates to cable networking, students learn how apply their skills to real-world situations.
“These are skills that are definitely in-demand within the tech industry,” said Kristen Davis, Job Developer, who heads up the Work-Tech program with The Salvation Army.
Additionally, students receive life skills education, in which they learn effective communication techniques, critical thinking skills, interview preparation, workplace teamwork, and the importance for continuing education.
“We encourage students to be proactive within the success of their professional development,” Davis said.
In October 2017, the unemployment rate was at 5.7 percent. Although this is less than half of the unemployment rate in January 2012 (11.2%), the highest since the Great Depression, it still equates to nearly 40,000 individuals without work. Through the Work-Tech program, The Salvation Army aims to help students secure employment as a means to financial stability and self-sufficiency.
Many outside partnerships support the program by recruiting students or providing entry level jobs for those receiving their BICSI Certification. Since its inception, students have been hired as cable technicians, as well as sales and customer service positions.
“Work-Tech does more than just provide jobs,” said Davis, “It represents hope, independence and success.”
Work Tech will expand in 2018. It will be offered to parents of children enrolled in The Salvation Army’s Learning Zone after school program, for those who wish to make a career change. The program will also launch a new curriculum for middle school students to prepare them for a career in technology.