© 2022 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Miami Students Gain New Skills At Tuition-Free Tech Training Program

Thanks to a White House-led effort to boost training programs for technology jobs, more than 100 young people in Miami who were unemployed or underemployed now have the credentials to work in Information Technology (IT).

A national nonprofit called Generation is partnering with Miami Dade College to offer a 16-week tuition-free course through which students earn one or two IT certificates and, if they want, 12 college credits. A federal grant covers the cost for students.

Five cohorts of students have finished so far, with 115 graduates. The program has an 88 percent graduation rate. And about three quarters of those who finish get a job afterwards. There are employers that have committed to hiring qualified graduates of the program, including Apple, GE and Mastercard.

Carry Antenor, who lives near Miami Shores, graduated from the program last semester with both IT certificates. She studied theatre at Florida International University (FIU) but had struggled to find a job as an actor. She was working as a hostess at a restaurant and trying to support her 13-year-old daughter when a friend persuaded her to apply for the Generation IT course.

“I kept thinking and praying that I need to do something with my life, and I have this time available,” she said. So she decided: “Let me just go for it.”

She and her classmate, Timothy Rush of Liberty City, had a truncated course schedule because their semester was interrupted by Hurricane Irma.

Rush said the storm-related break motivated him further to succeed in the program.

“I wanted to prove to Mother Nature that she couldn’t hold me down,” he said.

Antenor and Rush are now applying for jobs as help desk administrators.

Jessica Bakeman is senior editor for news at WLRN, South Florida's NPR member station. Previously, Bakeman served as WLRN's education reporter for four years. Bakeman was awarded the 2020 Journalist of the Year award from the Florida chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.