01/29/2013 12:02 pm ET Updated Mar 31, 2013

A Long-Term Plan for the Future

"Since high school I've found myself working various dead-end jobs of almost every variety. Everything from delivery boy, a hotdog cart grill-cook, a cookie baker, and some retail. These jobs became frustrating as I became more and more anxious about a long term plan for the future: a career. It was only natural being my own neighborhood's unofficial tech-guy that I finally pursue the credentials I need to step into a job market that I will fit right into: computer technology."

Brian graduated from the ITWorks program and is completing an extended internship with Independence Blue Cross. He is eager to start a full-time position, and has proven to be a hard worker and quick learner.

The Annie E. Casey November 2012 publication, "Youth and Work: Restoring Teen and Young Adult Connections to Opportunity" stated that only about half of young people ages 16 to 24 held jobs in 2011. Overall, 6.5 million people ages 16 to 24 are both out of school and out of work. Research demonstrates a positive return on investment for programs that advance academic, social and career skills.

At Tech Impact, we believe ITWorks is truly innovative because of three unique components:
   1. The drastic income gain (100% or more) made possible in a condensed window of time (16 weeks),
    2. ITWorks' ability to launch students into a new career by making connections to area corporations and nonprofits, and
   3. The benefit to area nonprofits (interns and affordable entry-level technology staff).

We typically receive 8 to 10 times the number of applications than there are slots to fill. For the Philadelphia session in Fall 2012, 150 applicants applied for 15 slots. There is a great need for these opportunities.

ITWorks has been operating successfully in Philadelphia since it launched in 2010, and was replicated in Wilmington, Delaware in March of 2012. ITWorks' recent successes and measurable results include:
   • 90% student retention
   • 100% Cisco IT Essentials Certification and internship placement
   • 65%+ CompTIA A+ Professional Certification, and
   • 75% full-time employment in the field within 7 months of graduation.

ITWorks graduates' starting salaries post-graduation are $27,000 per year, in many cases an income gain of 100% or more. These increased salaries set graduates on the path to financial stability and self-sufficiency.

Tech Impact works hard to give ITWorks students every chance they can to succeed in the real world and gain employment. There are some very passionate and determined individuals that want to succeed, and that is the type of people needed in most corporate environments. As we have seen from some of the ITWorks program graduates from the last sessions, they have really made some positive lifelong changes.

"Being a part of ITWorks gave me the ability to restructure my knowledge for technology. My internship is where I got the opportunity to put all my knowledge of technology tools to use. Now I am an IT technician, performing network admin work and other duties." Luis worked at Banana Republic for a number of years before ITWorks introduced him to a new career path in technology.