Long championed by advocates like Lance Lucas, tech training for the city’s underserved residents has gotten a boost in the last year as civic leaders honed in on the structural issues behind the riots that followed Freddie Gray’s funeral. Taking the view that viable career options are one of the surest paths from poverty and noting the gap between open IT jobs and workers to fill them, workforce training and expanding tech access are key priorities of OneBaltimore.
Heading into the summer, New York-based NPower is set to add to the available resources. The nonprofit has been active in efforts to expand tech access in Brooklyn.
Today is the day Baltimore ! We are officially launching our local branch tonight. We can't wait to create amazing tech opportunities in MD
— NPower Baltimore (@npowerbaltimore) May 10, 2016
Baltimore is one of four new expansion cities for the organization’s IT training program. The growth is backed by a $3 million grant from the Fund II Foundation.
The organization will seek to provide entry-level IT training to 18-to-25-year-olds who are not currently employed or in school. Along with training in web development and project management, the training program is designed to prepare students for the CompTIA A+ exam. That’s a key for IT workers, said Patrick Cohen, national director of NPower’s Technology Service Corps.
NPower Baltimore will be based at 1101 W. Pratt St. in Southwest Baltimore (just over from the Baltimore City Robotics Center). The free classes are set to be held in the second half of 2016, starting in late July.
Along with Baltimore, NPower is also opening operations in St. Louis, North Texas and Alameda, Calif.