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Daniel Romero of San Diego Futures Foundation says you may be eligible for IT training and job assistance.

Please start by telling me about your program.

The N.E.O. program (Network of Emerging Opportunities) was created in cooperation with the Gary & Mary West Foundation to reach out to young adults ages 18-24 and help those interested in technology begin a career as an IT professional.

Who is eligible to take part?

The program is offered to San Diego County residents from ages 18-24. The candidate must have a high school diploma or GED, an interest in technology, and cannot be currently enrolled in post-secondary education. They must be able to show proof of low-income status and eligibility to work in the United States.

What is the application process?

Candidates must log onto www.sdbroadband.org/neo-training and fill out the online application. They will then receive an email detailing short-answer questions that they will need to respond to. Next, they’ll have to schedule a panel interview before the San Diego Futures Foundation Education Department and take a CASAS test (basic reading and math assessment) and a technical aptitude test. If selected, applicants will then provide documentation for eligibility requirements and complete enrollment paperwork.

Are you looking for any particular qualities in a candidate?

First and foremost we are looking for individuals who have a technical aptitude and a thirst for knowledge. We have had a wide variety of candidates with various backgrounds, but the most successful candidates are those who have always tinkered and utilized technology in their day-to-day activities. Moreover, we’re look for those who currently can remain dedicated to the program, as N.E.O. demands a high level of commitment.

What kind of time commitment does  the program require?

The program is laid out in a nine-month duration. Training takes three to four months, and examination prep is one month – to achieve CompTIA A+ certification (an industry standard.) Following certification, students will engage in a three-month paid internship, and the time remaining will be focused on job placement assistance. Bi-weekly, students will engage in three-hour classes for training and certification preparation.

Are there any costs involved?

The program is free of charge to those who qualify; participants of N.E.O. are considered to be under a scholarship intended to provide a foundation for a career in the IT field.

At the end of the program, what kind of jobs will graduates qualify for?

Individuals will gain the skills needed to become entry level IT technicians working in a multitude of technical fields, such as bench technician, help desk technician, and other positions that require CompTIA A+ Certification.

Is job placement guaranteed?

Job placement is not guaranteed. A full time Employment Specialist is on hand to provide resources, guidance and opportunities for students. Job readiness trainings, job fairs, and interactions with IT professionals are also a staple of the program.

Do you have any additional advice for potential applicants?

San Diego Futures Foundation realizes that not everyone can afford to go to college or – let’s be honest here – they simply aren’t that interested in any more school. However, we live in an era where techies come from all walks of life and might need that extra push to study something they actually do love. Potential candidates are probably already tinkering at home whether it’s fixing their parents computer or rebuilding computers for fun. We just want potential NEO candidates to know that they aren’t stuck and something better is out there for them thanks to funding from local organizations. Those interested can contact Danny Romero at SDFF 619 269-1684 ext. 217 or Daniel@sdfutures.org

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