IT Summer Fellowship Program:
Funded through the Governor’s Workforce Board and the Rhode Island Job Development Fund, Tech Collective launched its Summer Fellowship Program in April of 2012. Rhode Island technology employers and recent graduates of Rhode Island colleges and universities were solicited to submit open job positions and resumes, respectively, to be considered for the Fellowship. Tech Collective staff evaluated positions and candidates to make recommendations to employers, who then conducted formal interviews and selected Fellows appropriate for their needs. During the eight-week program, each Fellow received a weekly stipend of $500, with $400 of it paid by the Governor’s Workforce Board of Rhode Island (GWBRI) and $100 being paid by the host company.
Fellows and Host Companies:
In total, five Fellows were placed with four Tech Collective member companies to garner hands-on IT experience ranging from database management and social media development to internal customer service and information systems training. They are:
- Chris Guilmette – a graduate of the New England Institute of Technology, Chris completed his Fellowship as a member of the Information Systems team at Atrion Networking Corporation. Chris was responsible for assisting the IS team with diagnosing and resolving employee hardware and software issues as well as conducting research relative technologies and initiatives.
- Kaitlyn Poole – a graduate of Rhode Island College, Kaitlyn completed her Fellowship as a member of the IT Training and Development team at CVS Caremark. Kaitlyn’s specific areas of focus were to: review and provide feedback on training courses that were under development;
- Brian Chiaradio – a graduate of the New England Institute of Technology, Brian completed his Fellowship as a member of the team at netsense. Brian assisted with digital marketing, social media management, email marketing, sales calls, and graphics.
- Lawrence Witner – a graduate of the New England Institute of Technology, Lawrence completed his Fellowship assisting with database administration at The Rhode Island Foundation. Lawrence was responsible for tasks including Access queries, reports, macros and forms, IT support, and online database portals for donors.
- ShengQiang Chen – a graduate of Rhode Island College, Sheng is completing his Fellowship working on database administration at The Rhode Island Foundation. Sheng assists with tasks such as Access queries, reports, macros and forms, technical set up for events and meetings, and IT support.
Upon completing the Fellowship program, Brian has been hired by netsense; Chris has been hired by Atrion; and Kaitlyn has been hired by APC by Schneider Electric. Lawrence is currently interviewing for a position, and Sheng will be finished his Fellowship in mid-September.
New Horizons Computer Learning Centers provided each Fellow with a certificate to use towards a training course of their choice as they continue to grow their knowledgebase and experience.
Program and Industry Insight:
“The Governor's Workforce Board is very pleased that Tech Collective and several of its member companies stepped forward this past spring to create the IT Fellowship,”
“The Fellowship program is an innovative approach to training and hiring that really benefits both parties,” said Meghan M. Schweizer, internet marketing consultant for netsense, and supervisor for Fellow, Brian Chiaradio. “The Fellow is afforded hands-on work experience utilizing not just his or her tech skills, but also, and equally important, their customer service skills. And the Host Company has an opportunity for a longer-term ‘interview.’
Lawrence Witner, a Fellow at The Rhode Island Foundation, acknowledged an interest in database management that he began to develop while at NEIT, but didn’t decide on as a career path until his Fellowship experience: “It was the Fellowship that let me explore this interest [in database management] and ultimately led me to change my educational program from software engineering to information technology with a specialization in data management… Pursuing [this career path] is my way of preparing for the 21st century.”
“Tech Collective is extremely proud of and excited for the success of the first installment of the Summer Fellowship program,” said Kathie Shields, executive director for Tech Collective. “These five young professionals are well on their way to making invaluable contributions to our Rhode Island companies and industries. I know I can speak for all involved in the program when I say we are looking forward to both watching the Fellows’ careers blossom as well as the Fellowship program continue to develop and expand.”
About the Governor’s Workforce Board and the Rhode Island Job Development Fund:
Established in 2005, the 17-member Governor’s Workforce Board has supported strategies to improve the existing skill base of the Rhode Island workforce and to anticipate the future needs of growing and emerging businesses. Since its inception, the Governor’s Workforce Board has made more than $56-million worth of strategic investments in Rhode Island that reward collaboration among the state’s employment, education and economic development entities. To learn more, visit www.rihric.com.
About Tech Collective:
Tech Collective is Rhode Island’s Bioscience and Information Technology Industry Association. Uniting industry, government and academic stakeholders, our mission is to inspire, engage, educate and employ a high-skill, high-wage Knowledge Economy in Rhode Island. Since its transition from the Rhode Island Technology Council (RITEC) in 2004, Tech Collective has received more than $6.3M in federal, state and private grant funding to foster industry and workforce awareness, collaboration, and development through forums and initiatives including: Tech10, GRRL Tech, Women in Technology, Bio-Ed, and STEM-based education and training programs for K-16 students as well as incumbent and transitioning workers. Get connected to Tech Collective at www.tech-collective.org, on Facebook (TechCollectiveRI)