Community Investments Empower Baton Rouge Youth for Careers in IT

(Baton Rouge, LA) – A dozen Baton Rouge youth have positioned themselves for future careers in IT—careers that are currently offering salaries well above $90,000—thanks to community partnerships. UREC recently collaborated with East Baton Rouge Parish School System’s Career and Technical Education Center (CTEC) to offer a 7-week CompTIA IT & ACT Prep Institute, which was offered with support from the Louisiana Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers, Huey & Angelina Wilson Foundation, Capital One, City of Baton Rouge, and ReCast of Greater Baton Rouge.

UREC President & CEO Carl Dillon said, “UREC’s goal is to provide Baton Rouge youth with access to quality college and career ready opportunities. We’re increasing our focus on positioning youth for the best career and earning opportunities available once they enter the job market, and collaborating with community partners is essential to these goals.”

The purpose of the CompTIA IT & ACT Prep Institute was to introduce and prepare youth for future IT careers and to ensure that they are ready for college admissions. During the institute, the students learned IT concepts and terminology, infrastructure, applications and software, software development, database fundamentals, and security while preparing for the certification exam. Overall, the students gained over 150 hours of instruction in CompTIA IT Fundamentals, college admissions, and ACT prep.

Participants said the institute introduced them to career possibilities, shed insight on the importance of basic computer concepts and IT security, and encouraged them to be proactive about furthering their education beyond high school.

“I want to be an IOS developer. This is important to me because I want to use technology to be creative and help others,” said CompTIA IT Institute graduate Alani Jackson. “The CompTIA IT Institute will help me start my career. I learned about basic computer maintenance, programming, and parts of the computer.”

EBR CTEC Executive Director Summer Dan said, “This collaboration among UREC, the EBR Career & Technical Education Center (CTEC) and the Louisiana Department of Education’s Jump Start Summers allowed all of the partners to meet the goal of training high school students in the high paying, high demand fields in the Capital Region. We are excited to continue this partnership and find ways to expand program offerings in the future.”

The 2021 CompTIA IT & ACT Prep Institute graduates are (L-R): Alani Jackson, Christopher Atkinson, Carlos Lee, Makayla Bey, Toney English, Imani George, Nicholas Johnson, Leah Franklin, Lionel Franklin, Jeremiah Bolden, Kataria Stewart, and Kinan Calhoun (not pictured).

The CompTIA IT Institute was offered as an initiative of UREC’s College & Career Ready 21st Century Learning Center. Jack Allen served as Program Instructor. Trenecia Smith served as UREC’s Program Coordinator.