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Government and Politics

Ticket to Tech aims to open doors on IT careers

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Greta Mart/KCBX
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A flyer advertising the program.

There’s a new opportunity in San Luis Obispo County, one that could be transformative for those with the potential and motivation to forge themselves a new career in the world of technology. 

It’s called Ticket to Tech and it’s a paid training program for county residents who want to get into the tech industry but have no experience. The program is being administered by SLO Partners.

Amy Kardel is board chair of the global trade association for the IT industry. She also runs an IT company in San Luis Obispo. Kardell has been getting the word out about the Ticket to Tech program and says it’s not too good to be true - it’s truly a golden opportunity for the right people.

“The number one question I get is how do I get into tech - it’s such a hot market, and you can’t get experience without having experience, because no one will give you a job until you have experience,” Kardel said. “So the community came together to look for a way to create a pathway for someone who has aptitude, but doesn’t yet have the ability or the experience to prove they want to have a career in tech.”

50 applicants will be selected to take part in the program, which starts in July. Half the cohort will train in San Luis Obispo and the other half in Paso Robles. There's no age limit, it's meant to attract a wide spectrum of people. 

“We have a grant from the [San Luis Obispo] County Office of Education to actually pay people to learn the key skills in tech...we look for people with a great attitude, and we’ll train for aptitude,” said Dan Weeks of SLO Partners.

“This isn’t just aimed at kids, I want to make that clear. The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education is really seeing this broadly,” Kardel said. “It could be a mom returning to work, could be a graduate from a college who hasn’t found a job yet, a vet returning...the only requirement is you at least be 18.”

Kardel says it all started with a New Tech High School teacher going after a grant opportunity, then approaching local IT businesses with an idea for creating an apprenticeship program.

“And we said yeah, we’d like to have apprentices - we’d like to have practical training too.” Kardel said. “So that’s where the partnership comes in with the education, we’ll have these courses, it will be a year-long program, it starts July 10, applications are due by June 22. And we’ll bridge those people from aptitude to ability and we’ll have job placement services in these great companies.”

The deadline for applying to the Ticket to Tech program is coming up soon, and it doesn’t cost anything to apply. All information can be found at slopartners.org.