Rochester Institute of Technology, CompTIA Launch IT Training Program for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Adults

CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the industry and its workforce, has partnered with the DeafTEC Resource Center at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) to launch a 10-week technology training program for deaf and hard-of-hearing adult learners.

The program is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education program under Award No. 2100330.

The training course is based on CompTIA Tech Career Academy’s (CTCA) IT-Ready Technical Support Program, which delivers instruction in technology hardware and software skills ranging from building a computer from scratch to setting up and managing a network. Students also will receive professional development to refine critical business skills, such as communication, conflict management, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving.

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“This partnership and pilot program broadens participation of deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals in the technology workforce, where they continue to be underrepresented and underutilized,” said Amy Kardel, vice president for strategic workforce relationships at CompTIA. “Our work together aims to increase access to CompTIA training materials and exams by reducing language barriers that will not only help deaf and hard-of-hearing test-takers but others be successful in obtaining CompTIA A+ certification and entering the IT workforce.”

Offered in person on RIT’s campus in Rochester, N.Y., for 12 deaf and hard-of-hearing adults, the camp will be taught in American Sign Language by experienced, credentialed NTID faculty members from May 25 to Aug. 5. There are no fees or costs to attend the boot camp, and all expenses, including travel to and from Rochester, N.Y., room and board on the RIT campus, workshop materials, and CompTIA A+ exam vouchers are covered.

“During this boot camp, participants will gain technical skills such as repairing and maintaining computer equipment, networks, and operating systems, and learning professional communication and problem-solving skills that are key to success in the workplace,” said Donna Lange, associate professor in RIT/NTID’s Information and Computing Studies department.

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At the end of the program all participants will sit for the CompTIA A+ certification exams, the industry standard for establishing a career in IT. Individuals who successfully complete the CompTIA A+ certification will be eligible to receive job placement assistance from CompTIA’s career services staff and earn college credit for three, three-credit courses from RIT/NTID’s applied computer technology associate degree programs that can be used to pursue an associate degree at RIT/NTID or at other colleges across the country that accept the credit.

In addition to collaborating on this program, CompTIA and RIT/NTID have signed a memorandum of understanding to work together on increasing awareness and improving other IT training resources for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. The two groups also will work to educate more businesses to ensure rewarding careers in IT are accessible to everyone and to build a more inclusive technology sector.

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