Start an IT Career with WIOA Training for Youth

Start an IT Career with WIOA Training for Youth

After high school, it’s important to set yourself on the right track for future career success. One path to career success is through a traditional degree, but going to college isn’t feasible for some and it’s just not the right fit for others. 

In this blog, we’ll cover why IT is a great industry to start a career in right now, and how the WIOA Youth funding program can help you pay for training at LeaderQuest to get started. 

Why Choose Information Technology for Your Career?

Information Technology is a growing industry that offers a lot of career opportunities and doesn’t require a degree to get started. Advanced positions may require some higher education, but employers are mostly interested in skills rather than degrees. Many people get their start in the industry in roles like Computer Support Specialist and continue to advance from there as they gain experience and get additional training.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), “Because of the wide range of skills used in different computer support jobs, there are many paths into the occupation. A bachelor’s degree is required for some computer support specialist positions, but an associate’s degree or postsecondary classes may be enough for others.”

The BLS lists the median pay for these roles at $25.70 per hour, much higher than the national median pay of $18.58 per hour. They also note that job roles for Computer Support Specialists are expected to increase by 10% from 2018-2028, twice as fast as the national average of 5%. All that data means that a lot of jobs with great pay are being added to the market every day. As more and more companies build networks, buy computers, and store data, there is a huge need for IT workers that will only continue to grow.

Computer User Support is a great way to get started, but it may require more education to continue to advance in the industry. LeaderQuest courses in our Computer User Support Specialist program have been recommended for college credit by the American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT®). This means that you can get college credit while you attend LeaderQuest, giving you a headstart on any degree you might later pursue and helping you start your career with certifications.

WIOA Funding for Youth IT Training

The Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) is landmark legislation designed to help job seekers access employment, education, training, and support services to succeed in the labor market and to match employers with the skilled workers they need to compete in the global economy. You can learn more about WIOA in this blog, WIOA: State Sponsored Training.

For disadvantaged youths, this program can provide funding for training to help them get hired into jobs well above minimum wage, such as Computer User Support Specialist roles. 


Eligibility for this program depends on if the youth is currently in school or not. Please note that LeaderQuest cannot qualify you for WIOA funding and you must go to your local Workforce Center to find out if you qualify.

To be eligible for WIOA training at LeaderQuest, you must be…

In-School Youth Eligibility

  • 18-21
  • Authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Attending required  “compulsory school”
  • Family income at or below 100% of poverty line OR Family income at or below 70% lower living standard
    • Alternatively, if your family receives (currently or in the past six months) one of the following: TANF, SNAP, SSI, or other public assistance
  • Also, one of the following statuses will help you qualify:
    • Deficient in Basic Literacy Skills
    • Homeless or Runaway
    • In foster care or aged out of foster care
    • Pregnant/Parenting
    • Offender
    • Has a disability
    • “An English language learner who is deficient in Basic Literacy Skills”

Out-of-School Youth Eligibility

  • 18-24
  • Authorized to work in the U.S.
  • NOT attending “compulsory school”
  • Family income at or below 100% of poverty line OR Family income at or below 70% lower living standard
    • Alternatively, if your family receives (currently or in the past six months) one of the following: TANF, SNAP, SSI, or other public assistance
  • Also, one of the following statuses will help you qualify:
    • School dropout
    • Homeless
    • Receives or is eligible to receive free or reduced-price lunch
    • Lives in a high poverty census tract
    • Required to attend school but has not attended for at least the most recent complete school year’s calendar quarter
    • Homeless or Runaway
    • Pregnant/Parenting
    • Has a disability
    • In foster care or aged out of foster care
    • Youth who (a) received HS Diploma/equivalent and (b) is low-income  and (c) is Deficient in Basic Literacy Skills or is an English language learner
    • Requires additional assistance to complete an educational program, or to secure and hold employment (must also meet low income requirements)

Start on an IT Career Path

At LeaderQuest, we don’t just offer training to help you get certified. After your class is complete, we offer the support and resources you’ll need to study for your exams. Each campus has an Instructor Mentor on staff to help answer any questions you might have on the material, help you run through practice labs, and get you ready for your exam.

Employment outcomes are our #1 goal for every student looking to start an IT career. Each campus has a dedicated Career Services team, including an Employment Development Manager (EDM). Their job is to help you prepare for the job hunt, including job hunting skills, polishing your resume so it’s tailored to your targeted job role, helping you with mock interview practice, and answering any questions you might have about the marketplace. Our EDMs also make connections with local IT employers who are looking to fill roles with certified individuals, so that they can then refer our graduates and help them get hired.

If you are interested in learning more about careers in IT, or you have a child that might be a good fit for our program, get in touch with us! A short conversation with one of our Career Advisors can help you determine how suitable this path might be, and will cover the timeline and cost for training.

The IT Training & Certification Success Story of Eric Castello

The IT Training & Certification Success Story of Eric Castello

Eric was working as a Systems Administrator for a managed services provider when he got laid off. Struggling to make ends meet, he took a job transporting cars from repo to auction. Eric knew he wanted to continue his career in IT, but he needed to add some information technology education and a new certification to his resume to get there.

Read on to find out about Eric’s path to success, and how LeaderQuest’s IT programs can help you quickly get hired in an IT role.


Laid Off

July 15th, 2015

Eric was unemployed for over six months, with no response from employers in the IT industry. That’s when one of our Career Advisors contacted him about training opportunities that could help him get hired.

Eric decided to come in for a tour of the campus and to talk with LeaderQuest about how we might help him find funding for his education.



Enter: LeaderQuest

March 25th, 2016

Our knowledgeable Career Training Consultant, Orlando Dumas, helped Eric sign up for night classes to help him get his Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) Certification. He was able to secure funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) with the help of Orlando and set a start date of April 11th. Thanks to WIOA funding, Eric didn’t have to pay out of pocket for his classes.

Our goal, and Eric’s, was to get him the training he needed so that he could get back to work in It as quickly as possible. Our classes are designed to cover the subject matter thoroughly and in-depth so that students feel prepared to take their IT certification exams and ready to take on a new IT role after that! LeaderQuest no longer offers MCSA certification, but if you’re interested in starting an IT career we have many program options for you.


IT Training Begins

April 4th, 2016

“I enjoyed the classes very much, especially because the labs are very detailed and you actually do the thing instead of just reading about it!”

Eric was able to continue his day job while taking online IT courses at night with LeaderQuest. Eric told us that his instructor, Rick, was very knowledgeable.

All of our online courses are taught by a live instructor and include all of the labs and content that would be included in a LeaderQuest classroom. We pride ourselves on running engaging, content-first courses that give students breadth and depth of knowledge, regardless of the online or in-person format of the class.

View our Training Programs here



Job Offer

July 10th, 2016

Within a month of completing his certification, Eric got an employment offer from a contractor supplying workers for Microsoft. He was able to quit his day job and begin work full time as an IT contractor. His IT certification was the key to finding employment in the industry he was interested in.

In fact, the information technology industry is growing at an amazing rate which means the demand for workers will only grow. The US Dept. of Labor predicts a 12% growth rate for computer support specialists and similar growth rates for other IT job roles. Interested in cyber security? You’re in luck! The US Dept. of Labor predicts a whopping 18% growth rate for information security analysts! LeaderQuest can help you get the training you need to qualify for highly in-demand roles like these!


Current Update:

After a couple months, Eric was promoted to help train other workers. He’s making $23k per year more than he was making when he got laid off and expects to increase his salary even more as his role changes over the next 2-3 months. Eric told us that he expects this job to open up even more opportunities for him in the IT field.


Way to go, Eric! We love to see job seekers succeed in their job search and excel in their new role. Do you have questions or comments about Eric’s story? Leave them below!


LeaderQuest IT Training

Ready to move forward in your IT career?

This could be YOUR story! If you’re ready to advance your IT career or even if you’re just considering a switch to an IT job, we have the experience to help you. Contact a Career Training Advisor at LeaderQuest today to chart your path to IT career success!

Start Your Training Today!

WIOA: Boost Your Tech Career & Earn Better Pay for Little or Nothing Out of Pocket

WIOA: Boost Your Tech Career & Earn Better Pay for Little or Nothing Out of Pocket

In July 2014, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to help create more of a win-win situation for job seekers and companies.

Replacing the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, WIOA also amends the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act, the Wagner-Payne Act, and 1973’s Rehabilitation Act into something that’s more relevant to today’s job market and keeps the United States as a top player in the global business economy.

How WIOA Works

Jobs in the United States are moving away from manual labor and increasingly require fine-tuned skill sets to perform highly specialized tasks.

In fact, Business Roundtable estimates that since the year 2000, 85% of all jobs created in the United States require at least one specialized skill set, and that by 2020, more than half of the jobs (65%) will require post-secondary education.

The purpose of WIOA is to help willing workforce youth and adults get the education they need to work in these high-skill, higher-paying jobs. It creates smart career pathways aimed at the sectors of our economy that need them most.

WIOA helps individuals with and without disabilities fund their education to get ahead and to help America’s companies recover from the skills gap they’re currently suffering from—right now, 4.2 million jobs are staying open because companies can’t find the right people to fill them… but 9.5 million workers remain unemployed.

WIOA will boost programs that will help unemployed workers get trained in the skills companies need, get jobs, stay in their positions, and get paid at least a median wage.

How You Can Take Advantage of WIOA to Advance Your IT Career: Start Planning Now

WIOA hasn’t launched to the public yet, but it will take effect on July 1, 2015, so you can start planning now to make sure you get in on all it has to offer—especially using the assistance available to get free or low-cost education to advance your career.

Full details will be published on www.regulations.gov, and local libraries are predicted to be a key place for one-stop information regarding WIOA, especially since the digital literacy aspects of needed workers work well with what a library already offers. But even before the information hits the streets, you can plan where you want your IT career to go.

For example, say you’re in an entry-level position as a data entry specialist.

You like your company and are grateful for your job, but don’t like how monotonous it can get at times. You see there’s constant openings for support technicians and network administrators, but you don’t have the educational background needed to qualify.

Figuring out the education you need to get from where you are now to your next step will help you know what to go after when aid from WIOA is available.

Get Your Employer On Board

WIOA is for employers just as much as it is for job applicants. Especially if you notice your company having a hard time hiring for and filling certain tech-based positions, there’s a really good chance they’d qualify to participate.

Talk to your boss or your HR manager to see if they’ve heard of WIOA and let them know you’d be interested in taking advantage of it for classes on your end so you can advance to apply to one of those positions – they’ll appreciate your motivation and your likelihood of getting them on board to reduce your education costs are much higher.

Ask them to check out the WIOA apprenticeship programs too. After your education, you still might not have the experience they want, but you can job-shadow via WIOA while learning the exact needs of your company so you’re 100% fully prepared when they hire you into the full-time role.

Best Areas in Tech for WIOA

According to InfoWorld, 62% of IT hiring managers said filling a position in 2014 took longer than it did in 2013, and that filling one position can take up to six months.

There’s a skills gap in the IT sector, and there aren’t enough qualified workers to choose from for a company to hire a candidate that’s a good fit.

The good thing about WIOA is that it requires a strong alignment between what’s needed in the workforce and the educational programs available—helping eliminate this problem.

For example, for each available job in IT, there are two workers available. In the social sciences, there are forty workers available to fill each open position.

Beyond having a hard time finding the right candidate, companies who need to hire an IT expert risk losing up to $14,000 in revenues for each IT position that remains unfilled: their customer service suffers, their current employees are overburdened with responsibilities, and projects are left incomplete.

For this reason, IT companies will be taking advantage of the help WIOA has to offer them to fill the majority of their needs. In the same InfoWorld article, they site a CompTIA Survey that showed the most-needed IT skills include:

  • IT Support & Technicians: 48%
  • App Developers: 39%
  • Cloud Expertise: 33%
  • Network Engineer: 29%
  • Security Expertise: 28%

Find the Education Program That’s Best for You

It’s still winter, but WIOA support will be available before you know it. You can get an advantage by planning the education you need now, so when the time comes, you’re prepared to apply for the support.

By planning ahead, you’ll also be able to check out program dates to figure out which programs start and finish the quickest so you can get your education and start working towards your career goals and earning more money as soon as possible.

Check out our IT Career Training page — with just two clicks, you can get details and a schedule for the accelerated IT training program that’s best for you.