Advocacy Blog

For two summers in a row, CompTIA and Creating IT Futures, working with Chicago Public Schools, secured summer internships for more than 100 high school students, including Azzaria Douglas.

A self-described creative type, Azzaria pursued arts in middle school — band, drama, photography and dance. Technology wasn’t her thing.

Picture1“Honestly, I wasn’t interested in IT until I attended high school and learned more about all the career opportunities that are available through technology,” Azzaria said. “And that really opened my eyes.”

Azzaria was exposed to potential career paths that combined her passion for visual arts with her ability to apply technical know-how. While in high school, Azzaria served as her school’s lead photographer and mastered programs such as C++, JavaScript and Python.

Her school education was augmented by internships with IBM. During her first internship, Azzaria helped an elementary school redesign its website. Her second IBM internship also married Azzaria’s gift for the visual arts with technology, as she developed videos for an internal marketing campaign highlighting IBM’s technological assets. This year after finishing her associate’s degree, IBM hired her as a full-time employee.

Creating IT Futures Executive Director of Workforce Strategies Gretchen Koch said IBM understands what other employers are beginning to — that the tech industry’s long-held habit of hiring talent emerging from four-year colleges with computer-science degrees falls short. It falls short in terms of hiring enough entry-level workers, and it falls short in terms of diversifying what remains a predominantly white male field.

This holiday season, we invite you to join CompTIA and Creating IT Futures to create new on-ramps for tech careers for people like Azzaria.

Picture2As the tech workforce charity of CompTIA, Creating IT Futures particularly encourages a career path for populations that traditionally have been under-represented in the tech workforce, such as women and people of color. In our adult training programs last year alone, 66% of our students were people of color and 44% were women.

By supporting our general fund, you can drive success to all aspects of Creating IT Futures’ mission. Your gift will allow us to innovate programs that bridge the skills gap, diversify the tech workforce and help talented individuals like Azzaria to succeed.

Please donate.

Creating IT Futures is a 501(c)(3) organization. All gifts are 100 percent tax-deductible. 

Lisa Fasold is the Senior Director, Marketing & Communications for Creating IT Futures