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Announcement

Atlanta refugees launch IT careers through innovative TechBridge partnership

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Last month, 11 individuals enrolled in the IRC in Atlanta’s Career Development program graduated from the Fall Technology Career Program (TCP) at TechBridge, an Information Technology (IT) training course focused on giving learners a head start in the rapidly growing technology industry.

With training costs covered by scholarships provided by generous IRC supporters, the graduates spent 16 weeks studying business skills to succeed in leading corporations, money management, investing for success, and technology skills. Graduation ceremony speaker T, originally from Ethiopia, said of her class at graduation: “Trying to attend the class after work, taking care of family, studying and dealing with other personal challenges is overwhelming. But none of that stopped us from going forward. And that itself means a lot.” 

"I have no words to describe how grateful I am for what you guys offered me, without you I couldn't reach my goal."

A headshot of Tara.
TechBridge TCP graduate Tara.

TechBridge’s TCP is designed specifically to address barriers to financial mobility and improved economic impact. Following study and certification, TechBridge graduates will be considered for full-time, permanent positions at large, well-respected companies. Accenture, in particular, has committed to interviewing and hiring a large percentage of IRC TCP graduates. With several tracks of study in the IT field, IRC clients enter the program earning an average of $14/hour and leave with job placements starting at $50k salaries and topping out at six figure offers. Additionally, each program participant will have the opportunity to work with a professional industry mentor after hire for six months. One IRC client in particular, Tara, enrolled in the TCP program while working as a Walmart store associate making $15/hour and graduated with a job offer starting at $60k/year. When asked about her experience, she told the IRC, "I have no words to describe how grateful I am for what you guys offered me, without you I couldn't reach my goal. I really appreciate you for this opportunity to get into TechBridge.” 

“Technology careers are careers of innovation and transformation, and we want our new Americans to be cocreators in what a New America looks like.” 

The impact and importance of this partnership between IRC and TechBridge cannot be understated; a major employer for the metro Atlanta region, cloud computing accounted for 125,000 jobs as of June 2021. The program also opens the door for introducing more diversity to the tech sector; while Black Americans only make up seven percent of people working in the field, 61 percent of IRC’s graduates identify as Black, and all identify as people of color. Our graduating class was also 72 percent women, another underrepresented population in the industry. And with big tech companies like Microsoft announcing expansion plants in Atlanta, the IRC is working to fill the need for capable workers while connecting members of Georgia’s diverse refugee community to opportunities for economic empowerment. “This program is different because it offers economic mobility and fantastic job quality,” said Lauren Bowden, Career Development Program Coordinator at the IRC in Atlanta. “Technology careers are careers of innovation and transformation, and we want our new Americans to be cocreators in what a New America looks like.” 

A headshot of Bahar.
TechBridge TCP graduate Bahar.

“You will win against time—in a program like TCP, you only need a few months to begin your professional career.” 

When asked how this program will benefit refugees specifically, program graduate Bahar, originally from Afghanistan, shared: “I think refugees will benefit from choosing Information Technology through TCP in a myriad of ways. First, you will win against time—in a program like TCP, you only need a few months to begin your professional career. Second, the cost of learning in an IT program like this is low compared to other education. Finally, you will have a good income and opportunities to advance your career.” 

Much of the success of this program is thanks to our donors—both organizations and individuals—who enabled us to cover the cost of the TCP program for our clients. In August 2021, the IRC in Atlanta teamed up with New York City’s Leg Up on Life (LUOL) to fund Career Development scholarships for resettled refugees in Georgia. The event—a night of performances by an all-queer cast—took place at the Q Club in New York City and with the help of LUOL’s ‘Queens for a Cause’, raised enough money to fully sponsor three TCP participants!

“We want to see change for the better for BIPOC and be part of equitable change. That includes refugees.” 

In the foreground: a drag queen and a man not in drag, each holding a microphone in one hand and waving thanks with the other. In the background: drag performers applauding them.

Leg Up on Life's Queens for a Cause at The Q in New York City.

Photo: Steven Pisano

Daniel Gold, Executive Director and founder of LUOL, shared that the mission of his organization is to give queer and marginalized voices a platform where they can stand on their own two feet. On why it was important for them to help refugees, Daniel said, “We want to see change for the better for BIPOC and be part of equitable change. That includes refugees. So many people in the queer community want to give and this is a way to do so.” 

The IRC in Atlanta’s Career Development program has just enrolled a new spring cohort of TCP participants and we are looking forward to continuing this important partnership with TechBridge! If you are interested in participating in this program in the future, please contact Career Development Program Coordinator, Lauren Bowden at Lauren.Bowden [at] Rescue.org.  

To learn more about contributing to the IRC in Atlanta’s Career Development program scholarship fund and further supporting economic mobility for new Americans who are rebuilding their lives—like our friends at LUOL—please contact Senior Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org

 

To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Senior Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.

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