Silicon Valley has been repeatedly criticized for their failure to recruit and retain tech employees from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.  NPower, one of Alameda County Community Asset Network’s newest members, is helping to address this issue in the Bay Area. NPower builds brighter futures for underserved young adults and veterans, predominantly people of color, through free technology and professional skills training. The programs include technical classes, mentoring from business leaders, internships and career development workshops at leading corporations and nonprofits, industry-recognized certifications, as well as employment and alumni services. More than 80% of the Technology Service Corps alumni are employed or pursuing higher education within one year of graduation.  NPower workforce development programs across the country have trained over 1,400 students. The organization’s graduates are employed at industry-leading companies like Bank of America, Citi, Deloitte, Stanford Healthcare and the New York Times, and they have led technology skills training programs for more than 13 years.

NPower was created by Microsoft’s Community Affairs Division which had been donating software and making grants to nonprofits, but did not provide technical assistance to help local community members build their technology skills.  NPower was formed to fill this gap and first started with two programs to build skills and allow the tech industry to give back to the community.  The Technology Service Corps builds brighter futures for underserved young adults and veterans through free training in Information Technology and professional skills training.  The Community Corps is a skills-based volunteering program engaging technology professionals, high impact schools, and innovative nonprofits to help them use technology more effectively and inspire the next generation of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) professionals. NPower engages and mobilizes SF Bay Area techies, corporations, schools, and nonprofits to provide opportunities to enrich and empower their communities by building tech skills and achieving their potential.

NPower has now expanded their offerings to four programs: TechCareer Accelerator, The Technology Service Corps, Cyber Security, and The Community Corps. Training includes ServiceNow System Administrator and Mobil App Development, IT Desktop Support, and Cyber Security which are commonly used in the tech and business sectors.

NPower works nationally, and has regional offices at the College of San Mateo.  It has recently expanded its programs to Alameda County, at the College of Alameda.  On September 19th, 2016 it will launch its 8 week TechCareer Accelerator program at the College of Alameda, providing pathways to employment and onsite training at no cost to students across the region. TechCareer Accelerator is for people who want a career in IT Service Management. Students should have an aptitude for tech and feel comfortable with fundamentals like Microsoft Office or a background in technology but don’t have certifications or formal training. The curriculum includes ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and ServiceNow certifications, along with JavaScript and App Development training and will help students launch their SaaS (Software as a Service) careers.

Cyber Security is program that NPower offers nationally, and will bring to the Bay Area in late 2017. This program requires the most preexisting IT knowledge and is designed to build off the knowledge from both the Technology Service Corps and the TechCareer Accelerator.

NPower’s TechCareer Accelerator will be offered again in late January, mid March, and late August.  If you work with low-income young adults or veterans of any age who have an interest in developing high quality SaaS skills, assist them in completing the program application as soon as possible.  You can also contact Pedro Remotti, Program Manager, with questions or to discuss ways to get involved, pedro.remotti@NPower.org.