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Partnership Teaches Grads 'Human Skills' for Tech Industry

Not everybody is cut out for coding. Two universities have begun collaborating with a consulting company to teach their graduates and alumni skills for working in technology without forcing them learn how to program. SV Academy is working with Arizona State University and Florida International University to train people in sales and support roles at tech companies.

The new collegiate program is free to the students and specifically focused on teaching what the company called "human skills." For people who are currently employed, the training is part-time and lasts 12 weeks; or students can attend full-time and finish in four weeks. They eventually earn job titles such as customer success manager, sales development representative, value solutions strategist or retail partnership lead.

Graduates of the program gain access to:

  • Job preparation and placement support at the companies in SV Academy's network in the San Francisco Bay Area, Atlanta and New York, including SurveyMonkey, Palo Alto Networks, Pure Storage and Cloudflare;
  • Full-time job offers with average salary packages of $79,000; and
  • A certificate issued by the university and SV Academy.

Participants get a year of on-the-job training and mentoring, as well as access to a career network and events program. Mentoring is done by professionals from companies such as Google, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, LinkedIn and Facebook.

"At ASU, we're passionate about giving our students and alumni the resources they need to pursue their dream careers," said Darcy Richardson, director of Continuing & Professional Education for EdPlus at Arizona State, in a statement. "With so many of our graduates interested in technology and our close proximity to California, where many of our students come from, partnering with SV Academy is another way for us to help people pursue the career they want."

Officials at Florida International were wooed by SV Academy's focus on diversity and its "zeal for providing accessibility to life-changing education," added Joseph Riquelme, assistant vice president of FIU Online. He noted that the program will give the university's graduates "the tangible skills and mentorship that make them immediately hirable and valuable members of the tech community."

According to SV Academy, it has led 28 cohorts since its founding in 2017, helping "hundreds of fellows" transition into sales careers. On average, graduates of the program get a relevant job in 39 days. The mix of the company's graduates is 25 percent African Americans, 16 percent Latinx, 60 percent women and 70 percent first-generation college graduates. The firm was co-founded by CEO Rahim Fazal, whose last company, Involver, was acquired by Oracle, and COO Joel Scott, a former VP of operations at Hewlett Packard.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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