Educational Data Systems Incorporated (EDSI) hosted a Lunch & Learn with Cisco for the Capital Area Youth program in Raleigh. EDSI is a national workforce development consulting company. Their Wake County office provides academic and career services to local youth, in and out of school, aged 16 to 24.
Twenty-eight young adults attended the event to learn more about potential careers in technology and beyond. Employees from Cisco discussed the different career pathways available and the interests that brought them to this field. The young adults were then able to ask their own questions of the panel. Some of the subjects they touched on included education, company culture, and the “spark” that helps an employee find fulfillment in their work.
Lunch was provided to participants by Cisco. EDSI plans to run this panel every quarter at the youth center, with a “Day at Cisco” Youth Summit to be scheduled in early Summer.
It’s no secret that the education system doesn’t really give students real-world jobs skills. Add to that the challenge of transitioning from 12-16 years as a student to a life with a different set of rules and expectations. What most employers want is someone with experience who can hit the ground running, a quality most recent grads lack.
Brittany Sands’ problem as a recent grad was not unique. She graduated from Campbell University with a Bachelor’s in Clinical Research. Unable to land a job in her field, she took a cashier job at CVS. While researching internships, she came across the Backpacks-to-Briefcases program. As a participant, she learned how to improve her resume, interview skills, and presentation skills. Everything learned was put into practice at a job fair organized specifically for participants. There, Brittany was offered a paid internship by Premier Research where she received valuable work experience while the program paid her wages. When the internship ended, she was hired full-time as a Procurement Strategic Sourcing Specialist.
Backpacks-to-Briefcases was first created in 2012 as a CAWD youth program. It was designed specifically to give college graduates the right combination of knowledge, skills, and practical experience to enter the job market, while mitigating training expenses employers. Eighty-six participants were placed at that time. In 2015, it was expanded as Backpacks-2-Briefcases 2.0 in partnership with NC State University, CAWD, and a $386,000 grant by Duke Energy Foundation.
Workforce development programs like Backpacks-to-Briefcases are indicative of the innovative solutions such collaborations can achieve. Participants like Brittany get a foot in the door in order to begin good careers and businesses find people with the skills they need.
To learn more about the program, contact the Capital Area Youth & Young Adult Center at
TechHire is for individuals aged 17-29 looking to go into information technology and cyber security careers. These are high-skill / high-demand occupations with established career pathways. In North Carolina, Computer User Support Specialist enjoy a median wage of $46,670. From there one can become a Computer Network Support Specialist ($57,970), Network and Computer Systems Administrator ($75,130), and Computer Network Architect ($100,800).
With additional training and experience, the pathway can lead to Computer and Information Systems Manager (NC Median Wage $124,420), Computer Systems Analyst ($84,640), and Information Security Analyst ($86,180).
Those interested should visit TriangleTechHire.com and complete the contact form to learn more.
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Youth and young adults were treated to a catered lunch by EDSI in celebration of the all hard work they accomplished during the year. Each personal received individual recognition, including special certificates, for jobs well-done. Staff from EDSI recognized participants for receiving GEDs, successful work experiences, and for developing occupational skills. People were also recognized as being exceptional leaders and entering the workforce! It was a fantastic event that was enjoyed by all.