Agile and Innovative Pivots
NPower is on a mission to diversify the tech workforce by empowering individuals from underrepresented communities with tech training to prosper from well-paying digital careers. Removing any barriers to ensure students succeed in gaining critical skills needed for a successful high-quality employment and careers in tech is a key component of the program. NPower consistently works to identify and harness new and innovative strategies to deliver best in-class instruction paired with industry-responsive curriculum. During the height of the pandemic, NPower expeditiously transitioned its classrooms into virtual learning environments for students and introduced learning modules into its curriculum that addressed some of the technology needs experienced by remote workforce, including virtual troubleshooting, computer network segmentation, cloud solutions, web-based email support, and trouble ticket communications.
Through generous support from dedicated partners like Guardian, NPower provided personal and professional skills building within a virtual environment.
To better serve students during that time, instructors pivoted and leaned into virtual project-based and interactive paid learning opportunities as an alternative to traditional in-person paid internship projects focused on technology training labs including: digital user experience, website analysis/ development, project management, cybersecurity, and data analysis. In addition to the project phase, students participated in mentoring and skills development sessions. Simulating “real-word” experiences, the hands-on learning projects enabled students to solve real business challenges aimed to prepare them for success in the workforce. This critical component allowed students to actively participate in their own learning process by connecting theoretical in-class concepts to real-world applications, further developing the confidence to showcase their skills when gainfully employed.
Students presented solutions to mid-senior level IT professionals, including over 30 Guardian volunteers serving as coaches who provided invaluable feedback and guidance.
“Guardian makes a difference in the lives of people when they need us most. One way we do this is by fostering a culture that celebrates volunteerism.“ said Francine Chew, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Guardian. “We strive to create a greater sense of community and belonging among our employees by empowering them to be active participants in our philanthropic endeavors.” Learn more about how Guardian stands behind the communities they serve at guardianlife.com/social-responsibility.
With close to 300 students participating in this focused training approach, overall sentiment relayed the benefit and impact that these opportunities had in exploring new pathways to gaining experience and skills required to work in related fields. The wide range of viewpoints from mentors across various tech sectors provided students with an array of knowledge and information.
NPower graduate, Tiffany Wang’s virtual micro project focused on exposure in cybersecurity from threat assessment, design and implementation of security plans, to identifying vulnerabilities across security systems. This learning experience launched her tech career as an Operations Analyst with Bank of America and now as a Trading Support Senior Analyst, increasing her earning potential by 15% since joining NPower.
“NPower has given me confidence, motivation, and a better understanding of technology. I also learned how to be more confident in future interviews and when handling tough situations. With much excitement, I look forward to combining my IT skills with finance to build my professional career.”