CompTIA Educational Foundation Bestows 2009 Creating Futures Program Awards
HP, ExamForce, and others are recognized for supporting the program, which provides free IT training and certification to those historically under-represented in the industry.
By Cecilia Galvinalvin
The CompTIA Educational Foundation presented its Creating Futures Awards to information technology (IT) and philanthropic leaders at a special breakfast during the association's 2009 Breakaway conference at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.
In presenting the awards, Gary Gillam, vice president of channel operations for Xerox and a board member of the CompTIA Educational Foundation, and John Venator, president and CEO of the CompTIA Educational Foundation, commended the honorees for their support of the Foundation's Creating Futures program. Creating Futures provides free IT training and certification opportunities to people who have historically been under-represented in the IT workforce, including U.S. veterans, individuals with disabilities, women, minorities, at-risk youth, and dislocated workers.
The 2009 award recipients include:
Hewlett Packard - Lifetime Donor Recognition: As founding financial and volunteer supporters of Creating Futures, HP executives helped develop the original strategy of the program. HP has donated major cash gifts and training seats every year to the program and provided funding to the Foundation's endowment that grants yearly merit award scholarships to deserving students pursuing IT careers.
Major League Baseball & McCormick Foundation - Lead Donor Recognition: Creating Futures received its single largest cash donation in 2008 from a joint program between Major League Baseball and the McCormick Foundation. The grant is part of Welcome Back Veterans, a national public awareness and fundraising initiative that addresses the mental health and employment needs of America's returning war veterans and their families.
ExamForce - Lead In-Kind Services Donor Recognition: In addition to a generous donation last year, ExamForce donated online IT training and test preparation software to Creating Futures in March, enabling the Foundation to reach more military veterans and supply them with free IT training to help them secure IT careers.
Pearson VUE - Lead Corporate Support Recognition: Pearson VUE donates the test exams that validate Creating Futures participants' IT knowledge and skills. Upon passing the exams, Creating Futures participants then receive their official CompTIA certifications, widely recognized in the industry as predictors of employee success and a good way to get into the IT field and build a career.
Robert Half International - Corporate Volunteer Service Recognition: Since Creating Futures began, Robert Half has encouraged its staff to interview and place into employment graduates of the program. Robert Half executives also have introduced the Foundation to other non-profits to form strategic partnerships and expand Creating Futures nationwide.
Fast Forward - Outstanding Program Partner Recognition: Fast Forward, a community technology center, helps to develop the core IT skills needed by residents in the Midland area of South Carolina. With a shared vision of helping people in need attain the skills to succeed in the 21st century, Fast Forward leverages its resources and partners with local business and government agencies to further IT growth for South Carolina businesses and citizens.
Dennis Zimmerman, the Educational Foundation's executive director, says 600 people have been trained this year through the foundation, more than 70 of whom are veterans; 40 percent have already found positions it IT, despite the current job market. Zimmerman's strategic plan is "tenfold growth" for the organization in order to fill gaps in the IT industry.
To raise money for the foundation, between May 1 and August 1 of this year, CompTIA employees, broken into teams, did some "very creative fundraising," according to Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of the association, including a bean-bag toss, bake sales, a poker tournament, rummage sales, and even someone who walked around with a sandwich board and asked for donations. One of the teams raised more than $10,000, contributing significantly to the roughly $25,000 in donations accumulated, which CompTIA then doubled.