The leading free tech training nonprofit, NPower Michigan, has announced it received a $250,000 2-Year grant from Rocket Community Fund that will provide free tech training to young adults and veterans from under-resourced communities in and around Detroit.
The grant from the Rocket Community Fund will support two NPower Michigan programs: the free, flagship NPower Tech Fundamentals job training program and a new Community Help Desk to assist Detroiters with digital literacy and access.
Laura Grannemann, Executive Director of the Rocket Community Fund, said NPower Michigan was given the grant because of the nonprofit’s steadfast leadership and consistent track record of supporting veterans and young adults.
“Digital connectivity is a critical part of today’s world,” said Grannemann. “Too many Michigan residents are caught in the digital divide, excluding them from opportunities for education, employment, and community. Every family deserves access to the internet and digital resources, and this grant to NPower Michigan is an important step towards that goal.”
The Rocket Community Fund has invested $2.8 million in partnerships to support Connect 313, an effort aimed at closing the digital divide in Detroit. NPower Michigan is actively involved with Connect 313, with representatives serving as Vice Chairs and members of the group’s community-led committees.
Under the grant, NPower Michigan will provide technical skills training, professional development, and job placement to veterans from under-resourced communities, their spouses and young adult Detroiters. The nonprofit has run the program in Detroit since 2020.
José Reyes, Executive Director of NPower Michigan, said the Detroit region is full of IT and tech jobs that are going unfilled because of the lack of digital access.
“IT occupations grew by 12 percent and are expected to grow by another 4 percent this year,” said Reyes. “We are in a unique position as an alternative pathway for young people to enter the tech job market. And with over 50,000 tech jobs in Detroit as of 2022 according to CompTIA, we at NPower are more than capable of training Detroit youth for future success in the tech world to fill those jobs.”
The Detroit Regional Chamber reported in their State of Education that, in Detroit, 53 percent of high school grads are deferring enrollment in postsecondary education. Consequently, this is leading to an ever-widening talent gap.
Trainees that graduate from NPower Michigan report an average starting salary of $36,164, representing a 234 percent increase over pre-program income.
NPower Michigan is collaborating with Human-I-T on the design and implementation of a Community Help Desk and Hotline for Detroit residents having difficulty connecting with the digital community. The goal of the Community Helpdesk is to address the digital divide throughout Detroit and ensure that all residents have the digital expertise needed to access the internet with their devices. NPower alumni will support the program as Helpdesk Agents, utilizing their training with hands-on applications and problem solving.
A portion of the Rocket Community Fund will provide the training and free community digital support to residents throughout Detroit.