From Essex News Daily: The tech panel featured two organizations that offer free training to low-income young adults. Per Scholas provides skill training and access to employer networks to individuals often excluded from tech careers; it focuses on diversifying the technology workforce by offering no-cost technical training. NPower creates pathways to economic prosperity by launching digital careers for military veterans and young adults in underserved communities with a focus on technology and digital skills. Both organizations have Newark campuses.
From Yahoo! Finance: The movement away from the four-year degree prerequisite is growing. With close to two open jobs for each of the 6 million unemployed workers that the Labor Department counted in February, employers struggle to find skilled workers.
An invitation to the NPower Gala in 2018 turned into a life-changing opportunity for Herb Hofmann, Vice-President of Information Technology at Loews Corporation.
“A contact of mine invited me to the NPower event, and I really enjoyed hearing about their mission,” said Herb. “In 2019, my company had some equipment to donate, and I contacted NPower, but it turned out it wasn’t compatible. I figured another opportunity may come up down the line.”
In 2020, Herb joined the SIM NY Metro Outreach Team through the Society for Information Management (SIM), a professional organization of over 5,000 technology leaders. The group wanted to create a giveback opportunity for SIM NY members and Herb thought NPower may be a good fit. He was connected to Alumni Engagement Manager, Amanda Aguilar, and that led to mentoring and coaching opportunities in Harlem and Brooklyn, and later a Career Day for students in 2021. After the event, a student reached out to Herb about the experience and shared what a difference it made in his outlook.
“I think the most impactful thing is when somebody recognizes that you made a difference for them,” Herb said, recalling the experience. “I enjoy giving back and being helpful and try to be that way in my organization and in life. NPower has provided that for me.”
Research has shown that mentoring can extend business networks, allowing executives to identify new opportunities and innovative solutions to complex problems such as the current hiring crisis and more diversity in tech. Herb has found that beyond the impactful experience of giving back to others, NPower has opened his eyes to an entirely new pool of qualified talent.
“My experience with NPower has changed my mind about the four-year degree,” said Herb. “You can see the value of the people who are looking for the opportunity to work in tech and the opportunities are great for them right now. They come out of the program prepared, eager, and productive right out of the gate. It’s helping with diversity and STEM issues early on, which is my favorite way to tackle these issues. If we can get more diversity – more women into tech – and encourage them at the early stages, we’re building the tech teams of the future.”
Herb has found one-on-one mentoring to be one of the most valuable experiences of the program. It has allowed him to work with the students directly and experience their knowledge and drive first-hand. Now with over two years of volunteering with NPower under his belt, Herb encourages others in tech to reach out and get involved.
“A lot of people right now are seeking a way to give back but are uncertain as to what that might look like,” said Herb. “The best way to start is through the NPower coaching events. It’s just a 90-minute conversation and the opportunity to meet and coach the students. If you go through that one experience, it leads to another. When you give back, it feels good, and no one regrets the experience.”
NPower offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities for individuals and corporate partners to engage employees in high-impact, meaningful experiences with the many veterans, military spouses, and young adults from underserved communities enrolled in our free tech training program. To learn more about volunteering with NPower, visit https://www.npower.org/get-involved/volunteer/.