Apparo and OMITT Innovative Solutions (OIS) have been partnering since 2015. Rose Jones-Edwards, Executive Director, turned to Apparo for help because she wanted to deliver more impactful services to her clients, who needed skills, support and training to enter the job market. “We were all pen and paper and so we couldn’t deliver the highest level of training. We had the space and the dream, but were facing the digital divide. I had a vision of a computer lab where we could build digital literacy skills, expand our training and offer online testing.”
Apparo assessed OIS’s needs through our Tech Therapy program, provided advice on tackling some network infrastructure issues and then matched OIS with a volunteer team from Duke Energy to help make Rose’s computer lab dreams into a reality. The Duke Energy team, facilitated by Stephanie McKee from Apparo, assessed OIS’s needs. Working together, they then sourced, configured and set up hardware and software within OIS’s budget to meet those needs.
“It was such a wonderful team. I was jumping up and down every time they were here. Not only did I learn something new every time, but we were also growing closer to our dream.” When the computer lab was completed in 2016, Rose was able to begin launching digital literacy training programs, online testing and enhancing training programs. “Back then we focused on building basic skills, now we can train Microsoft experts and Cisco Networking experts. We can deliver technology skills that are demanded in the workforce. And our training is enhanced in all of our trades, not just the technology ones. We can download training exercises and online testing materials to broaden learning across all of our programs.”
With the new computer lab, OIS has tripled the number of people they serve, maintaining their impressive 88% job placement rate. “Apparo is the catalyst for what we’ve accomplished. The Greater Charlotte area currently suffers from a lack of qualified talent in technology when trying to attract global companies to our region. Many times, technology talent is imported from other countries around the world. OIS seeks to address this need by broadening the scale of access to nationally credentialed training, and offer job placement assistance. The results — increased talent pool for Greater Charlotte and upward economic mobility for the graduate.”
Rose continues to work closely with Stephanie McKee and Ben Knudson, Apparo Tech Therapists. “They helped me navigate all of my decisions related to technology, they understand my needs and my plans. I have depended on Apparo. It’s one less worry for someone like me, so that I can focus my effort to meet my clients needs. I don’t have to worry about technology because I have my Apparo partners. That changed my life. I don’t have to do it alone. It’s a partnership that depend on. My friends and my support system.”