Annual IT Summit in D.C. Broadens Tech-Inclusion and Community Outreach
WASHINGTON — Helping Other People Excel.
Now in its tenth year, H.O.P.E. Project DMV (HOPE) has successfully developed a proven approach to broaden community engagements within the tech industry and the Defense Industrial Base (DIB). HOPE’s program sources untapped talent from traditionally underserved communities for classified and unclassified entry level technology roles. Starting salaries for GED credentialed candidates, high school graduates, and returning citizens with newly minted tech industry certifications approach $35,000 for tens of thousands of unfilled entry level and junior level technology positions. Several alumni already have reached HOPE’s “six-figure” club — some with Top Secret security clearances; A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications.
Opening these exciting new career pathways to a better way of life for families not only provides peace of mind, but significantly impacts economic growth for communities in the National Capital Region. Moreover, according to Defense One, technology is drastically altering what makes our nation strong, prosperous, and secure. The DIB is not only becoming a strategic innovation base, but a military artificial intelligence (AI) complex.
Founded by Raymond Bell, Jr., HOPE knows this all too well and has always recognized an urgent need to upskill local communities since inception. Over 25 cohorts later and owning unique relationships with industry trade associations such as CompTIA, HDI, and BDPA, HOPE continues to prepare HOPE alumni for advanced pursuits, and certifies cybersecurity professionals for trans-generational sustainment. Moreover, HOPE alumni are industry’s new project managers and hiring managers.
Sean G. Conner (left) of 22nd Century Technologies, Inc. was this year’s keynote presenter and one of HOPE’s panelists from industry. He listed career opportunities in Defense and Health IT. His firm has successfully captured new defense contracts in the Pentagon, in Maryland, and in Florida.
This year’s panel featured Richard Honesty from the U.S. Census Bureau, Bea Braxton, CEO of BeaKen Systems & Technology Solutions Inc., and Perry Carter, President of National BDPA’s Greater Washington D.C. Chapter. Panelists stated today’s leading digital companies have disrupted every industry they have touched, from publishing to automotive. Digital transformations determine how industry identifies and sources raw talent from every community. Yet far too often, future workforces are left out of groundbreaking innovations and economic development opportunities, especially those 18 to 24 years of age.
Sergeant First Class Warren Martinez (above) highlights current training opportunities in cyber, telecommunications, and information technology with the United States Army. For those entering technical fields or seeking security clearances with additional income as a reservist, access to the Army’s specialized training, high-tech equipment, and cyber operations are unavailable in most civilian jobs and becomes extremely invaluable on technical resumes when presented across growth industries.
New technologies notwithstanding, emerging success stories with industry and the DIB from suppliers and local communities hardly ever are deemed newsworthy. HOPE has changed this narrative. This year’s I.T. Summit was an annual value-packed information technology conference with Industry offered at no cost to District Residents, HOPE students and alumni, BDPA Members, and the public. Participants were able to discover new concepts while discussing industry’s requirements with HOPE alumni and Industry panelists. Government contracting with related start-up opportunities, acquiring security and facilities clearances, and pursuing degrees while entering technology fields were discussed.
The following workshops were offered this year:
- Interviewing for I.T. Jobs, Building I.T. Resumes, Working with Recruiters and Job Boards
- HOT Technical Certifications and Cybersecurity Tools
- “Must-Have” Technical Skills for Entry and Mid-level I.T. Jobs
- “A Day in the Life” of a HOPE Project’s World Class IT Help Desk Professional
Rocking her new ‘HOPE Hoodie’, Ms. Alaisha Etheredge (inset photo), shares dashboard and analytical reporting requirements during her session. Attendees discussed using the latest security information and event management (SIEM) tools such as Splunk and related certification tracks from novice to expert.
Conference and tech summit attendees met with IT professionals, small business executives, and workshop presenters, some of whom “walked in the same shoes” and recently launched their careers with HOPE.
During this year’s sessions, participants discovered how to prepare for an IT career within any vertical industry segment such as defense, healthcare, or transportation while acquiring practice skills that helps one succeed with certification testing toward any assignment.
For additional information, visit HOPE’s landing page at http://www.hopeprojectdc.org. HOPE is real.