"I was interested, so I joined," said Brockington, a resident of
Brockington is one of 15 students who enrolled in
The program at Carroll is a part of the Maryland Integrated Basic Education Skills Training, or MI-BEST, a grant-supported program that allows adults to simultaneously receive a GED diploma and industry-based certification.
"They're always going to need somebody doing something to computers," Brockington said. He previously worked as an electrician but wanted to change careers.
The Carroll program was supported through a
As with many adult education programs, problems arose causing nearly half of the students to drop out of the program; only nine students completed it.
"The material itself is challenging [...] but it's worth it," said
"I think the [program drop-outs] speak to the challenges that this population has," Maurio said. "The nine with us have been really dedicated. We even had one student who became homeless this week."
Some of the funding went to help students get to the program in the evening. Program facilitators distributed gas gift cards to students to provide some relief during the program.
DLLR provided funding for the academic classes and the
"We ask the local programs participating in the MI-BEST pilot to identify the job focus based on local needs," Tyler said. "They used some national data and local state [data] to identify what jobs are available in this field at the entry level where these students will qualify."
For the Carroll program, Tyler said, researchers assessed the job market in the
"By training in a technology field, there are unlimited opportunities on what they can do," Day said.
According to Tyler, 16 percent of the current IT workforce is reaching retirement age and there is an anticipation of need in the field.
Parham said that the program not only challenged her, it helped her determine where her aptitude lay within the information technology field. She now knows that she wants to pursue a career in software and not hardware because she thrives on the creativity programming allows.
"With software, I can kind of let my ideas expand," she said.
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