Sno-Isle Libraries offers IT job-training program for pandemic job victims

Sno-Isle Libraries has launched an online pilot program to help 20 people prepare for new careers in information technology. 

A woman studies at a desk in a kitchen.
Sno-Isle Libraries is accepting applicants for an information technology job retraining program for people whose careers have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The program will provide access to study materials and cover exam costs for CompTIA A+ certification, a requirement for many entry-level jobs in IT. The certification demonstrates that an individual is committed to a career in IT. 

Sno-Isle Libraries offers many employment resources, but this is the first time it has offered specific job training. 

“This is a novel program for us,” said Emily Felt, Adult Services Coordinator for Sno-Isle Libraries.  

Felt and Snohomish Library Assistant Manager Nate Cushman developed the pilot program with help from librarians Julia McConnell and Rickey Barnett, and IT staffers Brian Feller and Rabbitt Betzner. 

The CompTIA A+ certificate program is limited to residents of the Sno-Isle Libraries service area whose careers have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Sno-Isle Libraries wants to serve groups of people who are underrepresented in IT, especially women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and veterans. 

Sno-Isle Libraries will accept online applications for the CompTIA A+ training program for two weeks, starting Wednesday, May 27. 

Participants will need their own computer and internet access. During the application process, they will complete an assessment of their fitness for the program and studies.  

The CompTIA A+ certificate program consists of two tests, starting with the 1001 exam first. The program is expected to run for about 34 hours over 10-12 weeks for each test, Felt said. It will have two virtual “learning circles” of 10 participants each, facilitated by Sno-Isle Libraries librarians and its IT staff. 

“They have so much expertise they can lend,” Felt said of her colleagues. 

Learning circles will include Lynda.com study guides, course notes, practice exams, facilitated discussions, support, socialization and motivation to complete the certificate program. 

When participants successfully finish their studies, Sno-Isle Libraries will provide a $220 voucher for the cost of the CompTIA A+ exam, Felt said. 

Successful participants will get information on additional educational opportunities at local community colleges, plus referral information for WorkSource and job-search assistance 

During and after the pilot program, participants can schedule virtual Book-a-Librarian sessions about the library’s job-search resources. On completion, they’ll be asked to provide a final assessment of the pilot program. 

If this pilot is successful, Felt said there is opportunity to expand to additional certifications in other industries.