As Congress dawdles on DREAM Act, IT Training helps young immigrants
There’s a huge market demand for IT professionals, but many talented people are unaware of the opportunities, according to Zafar Khizer, president of PC AGE, a Jersey City-based computer training school with four locations in New Jersey.
“New Jersey’s unemployment rate is improving, dropping to 5.6% according to the latest reports, although it’s still above the national rate of 5.1%,” he notes. “For Information Technology (IT) professionals, however, the job market has remained strong – people with computer and information technology training tend to have median weekly earnings above the average for all occupations, according to the federal labor agencies.”
While the median earnings for all occupations is reported at $776 a week, computer support specialists earn about $940 a week, and network and computer systems administrators earn about $1,395 a week, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Job growth for overall computer occupations is expected to grow by 18% through 2022, according to the BLS, compared to 11% for all occupations.
“President Obama is doing an admirable job of trying to help, in part by promoting the study of STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics),” says Zafar. “But the private sector also has to step in, and that’s how schools like PC AGE are helping. Information technology institutions like ours offer a comprehensive, cost-competitive, curriculum that can be completed in as little as nine months, while preparing students for a high-paying job in a growing field that has a lot of demand.”
IT training centers like PC AGE offer hands-on learning and expert guidance from trained instructors that can make a big difference to someone with no technical background, he adds.
“Compared to colleges, even to community colleges, IT training centers are usually less expensive or offer better value, and students can graduate and get a well-paying job in less time,” according to Khizer. “Women in particular find them attractive. Statistics indicate that women make up only 18 percent of computer science graduates at four-year universities in 2013 (the most recent year available); but in contrast, 35 percent of students at specialized coding schools are women, according to published reports.”
Umar Jawed, a graduate of PC AGE, is one of the many success stories. Jawed arrived in the U.S. in 1999 from Pakistan, with his parents who had a work visa. But following the September 11, 2001 tragedy, the federal government cut back visa programs, and Jawed’s father was unable to extend his working visa. In a bid to resolve cases like this, President Obama has supported the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), but it’s been snarled in Congress for years.
By the time he turned 18 and graduated from high school in Edison, Jawed knew that he wanted a better life, but was unsure of how to achieve it.
“I did well academically in high school, but because I wasn’t a citizen I wasn’t eligible for many financial aid programs offered by colleges,” Jawed says. He eventually enrolled in a 12-month evening course at PC AGE, where he studied computer support and networking and other related disciplines.
“We started with basic IT training but quickly moved on to a comprehensive, intensive course of study that featured such subjects as advanced Windows, Linux and other systems,” Jawed, 22, recalls. “Even before graduation in October 2013, I was getting multiple job offers.”
He started at Q Pharma Inc., a Morristown, N.J.-based company, at about $37,000 a year. Today he earns considerably more as a systems administrator at a large, Northern, N.J.-based community bank.
Jawed recently transferred 39 credits from PC AGE to Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, where he’s now working on completing his Bachelor’s in IT.
“I’m the youngest among my circle of friends, yet I make more than all of them,” he reports. “They ask me for job advice and a few of them have already enrolled at PC AGE because they also want to do better. I’ll always remember that my success is due to hard work; President Obama’s programs like the DREAM ACT that are aimed at making it easier for non-citizens to integrate into American society; and of course, to the excellent IT training I received at the institute.”
PC AGE has made it even easier for students to afford the program by implementing a deferred payment plan, Khizer adds
“Technological advances mean that the demand for IT professionals will continue to grow,” says Khizer. “IT institutions like PC AGE will continue to fill this demand.”
“I was recently offered a job as a consultant for $83/hour but was not hired because I am not an American citizen,” notes Jawed. “One day I will become an American citizen, and I will enjoy a six-figure income. I am thankful to President Obama and PC AGE for giving me this chance in this land of opportunity.” Visit PCAGE.edu for more information on IT training programs.
With a sincere desire to help people improve their lives through education, PC AGE’s mission is to provide world class career education in Information Technology (IT) within a relatively short time. PC AGE is accredited by Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and Federal Title IV eligible institute that provides career education in the Information Technology (IT) field. PC AGE has four locations in New Jersey: Jersey City (Main Campus), Metropark (Branch Campus), Parsippany (Learning Site) and Passaic (Learning Site). PC AGE was among the first career institutes in New Jersey to offer IT certification training to working adults. It has a solid foundation – that includes an excellent team of employees, unparalleled technical expertise and training curriculum, excellent reputation, and a copyrighted scientifically validated Computer Aptitude Test. In 2005, PC AGE received 43 semester college credits recommendations for its Internetwork Engineering program from the American Council on Education (ACE). In 2008, the Program Review Team from Thomas Edison State College (TESC) also evaluated and recommended 43 semester credits for its Internetwork Engineering courses. PC AGE has created an articulation agreement with TESC to transfer credits earned at PC AGE for an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree from TESC.
Zafar KhizerPC AGE Career InstitutePresident201firstname.lastname@example.org
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