CUNY TechWorks (CTW) is an industry-driven strategy to develop and sustain the next generation of workers who will enter jobs within the IT industry. By engaging the most influential stakeholders, CUNY TechWorks will develop curricula and training opportunities that will speak to the needs of employers and employees, alike. The consortium, a collaboration between CUNY’s Office of Continuing Education and Workforce Programs (CUNY CEWP) and the Borough of Manhattan, Kingsborough and Queensborough Community Colleges, was formed in response to a US Department of Labor’s America’s Promise grant program. America’s Promise has granted select programs to prepare workers for entry into the most in-demand jobs in high-growth industries by bringing together key industry stakeholders—employers, workforce and economic development organizations, community colleges, job training programs and community-based organizations.
CUNY TechWorks responds to the city’s need for an educated labor-force in the high-growth Information Technology field. The program will equip individuals with skillsets acquired through hands-on experiences in select IT jobs, mainly software development, systems and IT network analysists, and user specialists, so they stand out in applicant pools.
Initial research has found that four-year degrees as the sole indication of a prospective employees’ abilities are weaning. Instead, applicants are asked to prove their proficiency by presenting portfolios and performing real-time, hands-on technical abilities throughout the hiring process. CTW is designed to complement and enhance Associate of Applied Sciences (A.A.S.) degree programs in the above-mentioned fields, and target three distinct groups: A.A.S students who are seeking first-time employment, high school graduates who have expressed interest in IT careers, and those previously enrolled in IT-related A.S or A.A.S. programs who are unable to secure gainful employment. CTW has three main operating goals:
- To define career pathways and competency requirements
- To create and implement related applied skills training curricula to support above
- To promote and replicate successful curriculum, program and employer engagement strategies
To accomplish these goals, employers will play a central role in curriculum development so as to ensure that training is relevant to their needs and those of the identified job titles. Moreover, CTW will prepare faculty to deliver up-to-date coursework and information to better advise students on career options and career advancement. Through the development and delivery of employer-informed applied skills training, CUNY TechWorks seeks to better integrate practical industry competencies into relevant A.A.S. degree pathways.