First Annual IT Forum for Freshmen at Pathways Academy of Technology and Design
April 5, 2017 in East Hartford, CT
Understanding what IT is and what career opportunities exist in Information Technology is confusing for ninth graders. Debunking the fears and the myths of IT and careers in computers as well as informing this talented, tech-savvy generation that they are qualified and well-suited to pursue opportunities in Information Technology is very important.
Freshmen at Pathways Academy receive work-based learning, have opportunities to participate in internships and learn about avenues of IT in their Tech Rotation classes. They receive 8 weeks of instruction on Programming, Intro to Digital Video & Media, Intro to Web Design, Intro to Computer App Development and Business Communications to expose students to foundational skills that align to IT Career possibilities. Helping students to understand the value that these courses provide and the opportunities that become available with these skills was the purpose of the IT Forum held on Wednesday, April 5.
Students participated in three half-hour sessions on Professionalism and preparing for the Business World, TIP the Scales – building a tower to demonstrate that Teamwork, Innovation and Problem Solving are the key skills required to become an IT professional, and listening to a panel of Young IT Professionals sharing advice and perspectives on entering into technology careers.
The panel, hosted by IT Leader and Industry Advisory Board (IAB) Member John Lamb of Stanley Black & Decker, included:
- Alexander Bogle – Cigna – Technology Early Career Development Program graduate
- Darnell Lamothe – Aetna – IT Leadership Program graduate
- Andrea Llivichuzhca – The Hartford – Operations, Technology and Data Leadership Program graduate
- Phil Lyon – Stanley Black & Decker – IT Stanley Leadership Program graduate
- Michael Martinez – The Hartford – IT Specialist and Veteran
- Isabel Velazquez – Hartford Steamboiler – IT Service Desk professional
Hearing from these professionals about their diverse backgrounds, about how they found IT to be a fit for them and understanding that the skills that they acquire qualify them for lucrative careers is invaluable.
Hearing from Alexander Bogle of Cigna that they are, "one of the smartest, most intellectual groups of people, because you understand the internet and technology and what is driving customer behavior, this makes you one step ahead of the rest" makes a difference and impacts student decisions.
Current students need to understand that they are valuable resources to companies looking to find innovative solutions to solve real-world problems. When young people don't have the opportunity to see a professional environment looks like or understand what the work entails, it makes it difficult to decide if various career options are a best fit for them. Through work-based learning initiatives and the resources available at a NAF school, professionals start to close the gaps and influence students to pursue the unknown and help to create the STEM workforce that is needed for the future.
We are very grateful for the time that our guests shared with our students and we know that their stories will change futures.
TIP the Scales by Cigna
Tower Building to demonstrate the imporance of Teamwork, Innovation and Problem Solving skills to IT professionals