partners team up to provide free tech training to low-income residents | Education


A group of community partners have joined forces to offer a free technology training program to help people living below the poverty line get better jobs.

Called the CB Tech Career Acceleration program, it will include business English as a second language classes to help members of the Latin American community develop skills to land lucrative jobs in the region’s growing tech sector. according to a joint press release from the Charles E. Lakin Foundation, Google, AIM, Iowa Western Community College, Centro Latino Iowa and the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce.

The program, made possible by a gift from the Lakin Foundation and a $50,000 grant from Google, is designed to promote greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the local tech industry to increase opportunities for historically underrepresented groups, the press release said.

The CB Tech Career Acceleration program will serve the most vulnerable in the community by prioritizing the acceptance of 20 participants based on the following criteria: they are unemployed or underemployed, live below the poverty line, actively seek entry or progress to a new career in technology in Pottawattamie County or surrounding area of ​​southwestern Iowa and are legally eligible to work in the United States. One of the goals of the program is that at least half of the participants come from the Latino community, which represents more than 10% of the city’s population.

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The AIM Institute, an Omaha-based nonprofit organization that was founded to develop the region’s tech talent pool, will deliver its 10-week Fundamentals of Web Development program, while program participants who need will concurrently receive work-readiness ESL classes through Iowa Western Community College. . The technical class will meet twice a week, and the ESL class will meet twice a week, according to Itzel Lopez, vice president of advancement and community relations for AIM.

Iowa’s Centro Latino, which has been providing culturally competent and accessible services in the language for 20 years, is strengthening community ties in this partnership through its workforce development program that now supports tech careers.

“Google is proud to partner with our neighboring nonprofits at Council Bluffs on innovative projects that help bridge the digital divide and encourage STEM learning,” said Dan Harbeke, head of public policy and External Affairs for Google at Council Bluffs. “The CB Tech Career Acceleration program will help improve the skills of Iowans and provide greater access to economic opportunity, and we are honored to be a part of it.”

The free program covers over 100 hours of content, with the first 20 hours of content made possible through funding from the Charles E. Lakin Foundation. Funding was provided to AIM to launch the Southwest Iowa Technical Training Initiative in June 2021 to serve residents of Council Bluffs and surrounding communities. Upon completion of the program, participants will earn the qualifications necessary for placement as front-end web developers, a career with an average entry salary of more than $55,000, according to ZipRecruiter.

According to the latest available data from the US Census Bureau, the poverty rate in Council Bluffs is 12.8%, with an average per capita income of $27,051, more than $7,000 less than the US average of 34,103. dollars.

“The Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to partner with the AIM Institute to receive Google’s grant to support the CB Tech Career Accelerator Program,” said Alicia Frieze, Director of Development. room labor. “Having a program that focuses on developing underrepresented populations is critically important – especially as we work to grow our diversity, equity and inclusion programs.”

The program will also provide comprehensive services to Latino participants as they work to develop their skills and prepare for a rewarding career.

Another benefit of the program will be to expand the pool of tech workers to help area businesses meet hiring needs, improve local labor market skills, and help low-income people get out of the cycle. of poverty, the press release said. The program will also reinforce Council Bluffs’ growing reputation as a tech-friendly community with the presence of the Google Data Center and other major tech employers in the city.

“The CB Tech Career Accelerator Program will help participants develop the skills needed to be placed in what we call H3 jobs – high-skill, high-demand, high-paying jobs,” Lopez said. “We are grateful to Google for making this program possible through its funding and the collaboration and support of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce, Centro Latino of Iowa, and Iowa Western Community. We all bring resources and expertise to this project that will not only benefit individual participants, but support the long-term goals of the business community at Council Bluffs.

The chamber will be instrumental in providing support services to help graduates prepare for interviews and connect them with local employers in need of tech talent, the press release said. Upon completion of the course, participants will also receive resume preparation, basic computer training, LinkedIn profile setup, and a one-year license to LinkedIn Learning, which offers expert-led courses to which participants users can access the application from desktop and mobile devices. They will also receive a Google Chromebook laptop.

The course is tentatively scheduled to begin Feb. 28, Lopez said. Applications will be accepted until February 27. For more information, visit or call Itzel Lopez at 402-591-1042. To apply, go to


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