As an out of work research technician biologist, Warren Foshaug says his foray into IT was a self-proclaimed nerd’s natural move.
That foray came in the form of the Capital Area Tech Knowledge E-Pathways program, launched by the Capital Area IT Council with a $4.4 million federal grant to help council members who consistently struggled with having enough talent to fill job openings.
Now a two year veteran in the IT department as project test specialist at Accident Fund Holdings, Inc. in Lansing, Warren spent six months as an intern at the insurance company, learning the culture and refining software testing skills he acquired through E-Pathways.
Outside of working closely with the E-Pathways program, Accident Fund is remarkably active on and passionate about the Capital Area IT Council.
“As separate industries, we may be competing for talent, but the other reality is that we’re creating a talent pipeline, which is something we can work together on,” says Accident Fund Information Technology Knowledge Manager Lorelee McCleary. “Were looking forward to taking an even bigger role with the council and helping promote what it’s trying to do in the industry, which is build that based of skilled workforce to support all of our IT needs here and in the region.”
For council Executive Director Andrea Ragan, the relationship is a best-case scenario.
“One of the pieces of E-Pathways that we try to make clear is that a career transition into IT has the expectation of lifelong learning. You don’t move down the assembly line of IT classes and then plant yourself in an IT cubicle. Accident Fund offers that continued learning and engagement by providing an intensive work experience program, which is a great way to engage employers in the learning curve. It’s a win-win.”
“They’re working with professionals in the industry and there’s nothing that compares to that experience. Hopefully it’s a win for the students who gain that experience. It’s a definite win for us because we’re creating partnerships and growing a pipeline for the community.”