• Area nonprofit offers ‘Tech Fundamentals’ training program for people seeking technology-oriented careers

    Samantha Coleman, NPower’s San Antonio site director, delivers a presentation for area nonprofit organizations recently at the McKenna Center.

    July 12, 2023

    A national nonprofit organization offers people from the New Braunfels Central Texas area an opportunity to participate in a new tuition-free “Tech Fundamentals” hands-on, introductory training program starting early next month.

    NPower, one of America’s leading nonprofits for equity in tech, is offering the program to bring new career opportunities to veterans and their spouses, as well as young adults aged 18-26 and women of color from underserved communities looking to launch technology careers.

    The program efforts to place the student on a “pathway to economic prosperity” by giving them the tools to land good-paying jobs in the ever-growing tech field without taking on the debt of a traditional two- or four-year degree path.

    In today’s economy, more than 50% of all jobs require some degree of technology and digital skill. A recent Microsoft Data Science report estimates that the U.S.’s digital job capacity — or the number of new technology-oriented jobs — will grow to 13 million by 2025.

    The organization opened its market in San Antonio earlier this year and can recruit within 100 miles of the city.

    Students who enter the four-month training program earn industry-recognized certifications and graduate with the competencies of an information technology professional with one to two years of experience.

    No prior knowledge of technology is needed to join the Tech Fundamentals program, said Samantha Coleman, NPower’s San Antonio site director.

    “The first day, we review ‘What is a computer?’ We look at the parts — everything,” Coleman said. “It is from a basic level that we start, then build on top of that. For some people, that first day and week is redundant, but it’s also a confidence builder because we’ll get to those higher content levels.”

    There is currently no entrance exam, but there are a series of interviews to assess the potential student’s fit for the program.

    The course includes up to 16 weeks of instructor-led virtual training and an opportunity for a paid professional internship or project-based learning experience. Eighty percent of program graduates obtain a full-time job or continue their education.

    The organization also offers specialized cybersecurity and cloud computing training to eligible trainees that have completed the Tech Fundamentals program.

    “Most of our younger adults have some type of experience, but maybe they don’t have the technical knowledge, so it’s giving them the vernacular, the acumen to speak to it, and then they already have the skill to build on it,” she said. “And now they can speak to the skill they can bring.”

    It’s the same thing with the experience individuals gain from the military, she said.

    “Sometimes the older population doesn’t realize they have so much to offer, and they already have the experience,” she said. “Maybe they used certain systems in the military, and they don’t see that translating into the workforce. We help them bridge that transition. They already have a foundation they didn’t realize they had. I think most people do without realizing it.”

    NPower’s classes are held online, but students meet in person to work on professional development, resume writing and interview skills. Students are provided with laptops to take the courses.

    USAA is funding the tech training program to build a stronger and more diverse tech talent pool in the San Antonio region. Boeing, Kelly Discover, Bravotech, HCL, and Bank of America are interested in hiring NPower graduates for their local locations.

    The next class begins Aug. 7. For more information and to apply, visit www.npower.org/apply-tf. Direct questions to admissionssanantonio@npower.org.

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