(Council Bluffs) — A pair of technology and job-readiness programs have been launched in KMAland.
The AIM Institute, in partnership with the Charles E. Lakin Foundation, has begun the Southwest Iowa Training Initiative, or SWIFT, while also partnering with five different Council Bluffs organizations to launch the CB Tech Career Acceleration Program. AIM Tech Education & Custom Training Coordinator Nate Decker says the current course offered through the SWIFT program provides general information on the opportunities available in the tech industry.
“The course offering right now is ‘Foundations of Web Development,'” Decker explained. “So the first portion of the course will go over web development as a tech industry and what careers are available within that industry–as well as salaries, and benefits with different companies.”
Itzel Lopez, Vice President of Advancement and Community Relations, says the CB Tech Career Acceleration Program has been a joint effort between AIM and the five different organizations in Council Bluffs.
“Obviously AIM is providing the assistance with technical training, and the Central Latino was able to assist in the recruiting efforts, and Iowa Western Community College is currently providing the English as a second language part of the course,” Lopez said. “And then the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce is assisting with the placement opportunities after the course has ended.”
Part of the job-readiness program includes a 10-week Spanish-speaking course alongside an English version taught by Iowa Western Community College. Lopez says the program aligns with AIM’s goal of reaching more minority voices within the tech industry.
“We have seen it as just the right thing, so all of our programs focus on recruiting people of color, people that are represented by both community and we also target a lot of females,” Lopez elaborated. “We do that intentionally because again, women represent less than 20% of tech jobs currently in our workforce, and people of color represent a very small percentage of the tech community now.”
Lopez adds that the Spanish-speaking community in the Omaha and Council Bluffs areas has grown at around 10-12% every year. Also, Lopez says, what helped make the program possible was a $50,000 grant that the program received from Google.
“After the institute expanded services into Iowa, we knew that there was additional need for additional programming financial support,” Lopez said. “So our partners at Google came together and said you know what are you looking for, and they really wanted us to endorse the diversity, equity, and inclusion, really making sure that we were very inclusive.”
For more information on either of the programs, visit aiminstitute.org or email email@example.com. Decker and Lopez made their comments on Thursday’s edition of the KMA “Morning Show,” you can hear the interview in its entirety below.