The ICD (Institute for Career Development) prepares people with disabilities for skilled jobs in the rapidly-growing technology industry and partners with employers seeking workers who are trained in IT Networking and Cyber Security. The inaugural cohort of the abilITy Cisco ™ Academy, powered by NYC: ATWORK, was launched at ICD in partnership with the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. This first of its kind program offers industry-recognized certification through a curriculum adapted for students of all learning styles; soft skills training with quest lectures from corporate partners; paid internships; and job placement support.
Currently, there is a spike in needs in IT, and many open positions are available in the marketplace. Historically, IT positions have not had adequate representation of minorities, specifically, those with disabilities. With the IT Academy, ICD highlights the need for diversity and inclusion when it comes to staffing IT roles, and, ideally, closing the talent gap. “People tend to look in the same places for the talent they are seeking. What we are trying to do is raise awareness around expanding your talent pipeline to include people with disabilities,” said Jovi Stevenson, Director of Business Development and Marketing at ICD. ICD’s IT Academy aims to provide the qualifications necessary for the talent
The objective of ICD was to hire an instructor with specific experience on Cisco certifications. Ideally, this would be someone who had previously taught at the IT Academy. ICD’s Andrea Goldman, Senior Director of Human Resources, was tasked with finding an instructor for the IT Academy. Due to the very specific and stringent requirements, she was finding it difficult to attain someone with the exact skillset needed to facilitate this program. Andrea conducted extensive research and determined that partnering with TTA on this undertaking would work best, as ICD could not locate an instructor with the background that Ms. Goldman was seeking.
Collaboration with TTA
Andrea, collaborating with TTA’s Senior Corporate Placement Manager, Lori Schmitt, worked to review and scope the details of ICD’s needs. Lori then proceeded to identify candidates that would fit the needs discussed. Within just one week, given TTA’s rich pool of L&D talent, Lori was able to find a candidate matching the unique skillset ICD required. The candidate went through a number of interviews with employees within ICD and other representatives and was delighted to accept the position.
Partnering with TTA allowed ICD to focus solely on the development of the program instead of the demanding process of vetting applicants, saving ICD priceless time and enabling them to deliver on their mandates. TTA successfully delivered on ICD’s business needs, providing a candidate matching the exact credentials and experience that ICD was looking for. Not only did the trainer have the experience needed to conduct the classroom training, but because of the candidate’s knowledge and expertise, ICD was able to get the instructor’s assistance in the prep work, the ordering of all equipment, and the set up.
Collaborating with TTA, ICD’s goals were met, and TTA was able to meet ICD’s stringent timeline, all with minimal interruptions to daily schedules. ICD’s leaders are very excited as the first cohort has taken off seamlessly, and they are preparing for the second cohort around the end of Q1 2019.
ICD’s hope is that over time this program could be replicated outside of ICD and New York, so others can participate in the benefits of this program. As an HR professional, Andrea Goldman states, “we’re out there looking to hire the best candidates. It’s critical to strive for diversity in your workforce as well as qualified candidates. Our IT candidates will have gotten excellent instruction, and they will have work experience from the internship. They will be candidates that are well-rounded.” Hiring a unique instructor for this one of a kind program could have been a much larger challenge for ICD, but TTA’s partnership made the whole process simple and efficient.