By Jamie Leary

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Following a demand for hiring in tech careers, the Community College of Aurora launched a new program. The goal is to give students a fast track learning opportunity into the jobs highest in demand. The program, called getIT, launched in March. It will help students get an IT Technician certification in 20 weeks. It’s a certificate that normally takes a minimum of two semesters to achieve, but after CCA received feedback about speeding up the process, it decided to offer the accelerated IT program.

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“It’s a lot to learn in that short amount of time, but it’s doable especially on a tight budget,” said Laciey Eidson.

Eidson is on a tight budget and a single mother. In need of a job, she signed up for the getIT program in March.

“I’m 36 and I’ve never been in a college classroom before so I was really nervous but I’m doing pretty good.”

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She takes three classes a week and says with homework on top, it’s like having a full-time job. She is learning everything from computer security to programming.

“This is just gonna give me a bit of an edge which a lot of people don’t get.”

Not only is she on track to start a career, she says her daughter is beyond proud of her.

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“I just want her to see that no matter how old you are, or no matter what your circumstances are, there’s always a way to improve yourself.”

Laciey will have her certificate by the summer and plans to start at a help desk.

That’s exactly how getIT works. It partners with employers along with workforce and college programs across the state to place students in entry level roles. The idea is to give students the skills to work their way up from there.

“We work with students from the very beginning all the way until they’ve gotten employed and there are some follow up services afterword,” said Jessica Cassarino.

CBS4’s Jamie Leary interviews Jessica Cassarino. (credit: CBS)

Cassarino is the Strengthening Working Families Project Manager and getIT is the newest project she manages. The program helps not only connect students with employers, it also helps them nail the interview.

“So our career coaches they really work with our students on resumes, interviewing, preparation and cover letters throughout the program.”

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, there are currently 800,000 help desk tech jobs in the U.S. and it’s estimated that another 88,000 will be added in the next 10 years. The goal is to introduce getIT into other community colleges in the state to help fill the need and provide opportunities to students with non-traditional educational backgrounds.

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“By providing highly curated candidates who are tech career committed and industry certified, companies benefit from time savings in the hiring process as well as higher retention rates from loyal, engaged employees,” said Janel Highfill, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Development at the Community College of Aurora.

The program partnership includes Activate Workforce Solutions, Cross Purpose, Denver Workforce Services and its Opportunity Youth Initiative, Goodwill and PARIN.

Cassarino says she hopes to bring the program to the Community College of Denver in the near future.

Jamie Leary