Guest Columnist

City partnership brings STEM training to students

Tata Consultancy Services is seen in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. The Mumbai, India-based information technology company has moved into the space once occupied by Transamerica Corporation. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Tata Consultancy Services is seen in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. The Mumbai, India-based information technology company has moved into the space once occupied by Transamerica Corporation. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

For the last several years, the number one challenge in economic development has been access to highly skilled, available workforce. While our existing industry survey data shows us that employers in Cedar Rapids consistently rank the performance of local workforce higher than that of their other sites across the United States and around the globe, the availability and quantity of skilled workers has made expansion opportunities and attraction of new employers challenging.

In order to capitalize on our workforce and support the development of new and existing businesses in an increasingly technology-driven world, we must continue to develop modern and innovative ways to invest in our local workers, especially young people. Working with organizations that specialize in upskilling and reskilling individuals is one of the creative ways we are empowering our youth and guaranteeing that Cedar Rapids’ future is bright.

This is why I am pleased to announce that the City of Cedar Rapids, in partnership with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), is hosting a free one-day facilitator training workshop of goIT, TCS’ signature student technology and STEM education awareness program. Through this opportunity, local employees and students are gaining skills for the economy of tomorrow. Currently, goIT is being implemented in communities throughout the United States and Canada; to date, it has impacted nearly 19,000 students in 70 cities. The goIT training is for teachers, facilitators, nonprofit service providers and volunteers interested in helping teach design thinking, relevant tech skills, and pitch presentation development to the youth in our community. The best part? You don’t need a technical background to become a facilitator.

As a $17.5 billion revenue generating organization, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is among the world’s leading technology services companies. It is the largest company in India across all industries in both employee numbers and market cap. Additionally, TCS is the biggest company from India investing and creating jobs in the US. TCS has spent nearly $3 billion in the U.S. between 2014-2017, hired 12,500 American employees in the last five years, and is the 2nd largest U.S. job creator in the IT services sector. In January 2018, TCS announced they would be overseeing Transamerica’s insurance and annuity business lines and employing over 850 former Transamerica employees at their new facility in Cedar Rapids.

Our goal is to have as many neighborhood groups, nonprofit centers, and community leaders become certified as quickly as possible so the children of Cedar Rapids can have access to this cutting-edge program. We are asking facilitators to host at least ONE goIT program in the three to six months following certification. A culminating event will be held in summer 2019 where student participants will have the opportunity to compete in a communitywide pitch event before both local and national TCS executives.

This training is more significant than just one program, it’s an opportunity to send a message to potential employers and most importantly, raising generations that Cedar Rapids is committed to embracing the future and showing that we have community leaders willing to invest their time and resources into helping everyone succeed.

The Cedar Rapids goIT training will take place on Wednesday, March 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Economic Alliance on 500 1st St SE in Cedar Rapids will serve as the host location. TCS will provide training staff, materials and lunch. Those interested in registering for the training or receiving more information should email j.almoayyed@cedar-rapids.org by February 25.

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• Jasmine Almoayyed is economic development manager for the city of Cedar Rapids. Lonald Wishom is government and community partnerships manager for Tata Consultancy Services.

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