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Novel idea lets computer students at Community College of Aurora build resumes while boosting credentials

Companies mentioned in this article: Community College of Aurora

DENVER, July 3, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Community College of Aurora has entered a partnership with remote technical support provider PlumChoice tailored to the IT company's desire to add skilled employees to its workforce. Students enrolled in computer science classes at CCA have been targeted as potential part-time hires initially, who then have a chance at future advancement.

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In other words, it's a career start in the computer industry.

"We listened to the needs of the employer and we responded," said Barbara Lindsay, CCA's director of Career Services. "And I think that's very advantageous in that the right student is being graduated from our programs."

The PlumChoice initiative first launched in late March and has, to date, resulted in numerous hires as Technical Support Representatives.

CCA, one of the community colleges in Colorado, currently is recruiting for its July 14 class, which numbers between 10-20 students monthly. The college makes sure interested parties understand the company culture beforehand and are a good fit for the jobs for which they'll be tasked.

The part-time work schedule affords students the ability to continue their studies and, in some cases, PlumChoice even suggests from what classes they could most benefit in order to best position themselves for future advancement.

So far, PlumChoice has set no limits on the number of students its willing to hire.

"The win for us is finding somebody that is eager and motivated into getting into the industry and making it a career and not a job," said Brad Borchard, service delivery manager for PlumChoice.

At the same time, participating students receive ground-floor experience that can enhance their resumes as well as skill levels.

"If they went out looking on their own they probably wouldn't be able to get a chance to get in because they don't have any experience," Borchard explained. "So it gives them the opportunity to put it on the resume as they're going through school until the time they get their degree or certification. And it places them in a really good position to move them into the industry a lot easier and at a higher-paying level than peers who didn't do the same thing."

PlumChoice, whose principal offices are located in Lowell, Mass., was experiencing high turnover in its publicly advertised positions before the idea was hatched to target CCA computer students in order to help mitigate that issue. These particular jobs are posted to CCA students only. Potential candidates must pass an interview process before they are provided paid training. A test follows. Those that pass will train at the company's Broomfield, Colo., facility, but after two months have the ability to conduct their business from home by remoting into clients' computers.

"The biggest win-win is that PlumChoice has a clear understanding of what we're about as an institution and see the value of our students, even though sometimes they get overlooked because it's not a four-year degree," said CCA Internship Coordinator Barbara Young, the college's point person for the program.

Young initially works with interested parties who may be a good fit for the program on targeting their resumes and answering basic questions before getting the paperwork to the hiring manager. Every CCA resume sent to date has resulted in at least a first round of interviews.

"PlumChoice knows we have a large non-traditional student base as well as a very large international population that may bring a very high level of education that's not necessarily accepted in the American workforce, But they often have years of real-world experience," Young said.

"Now, they're getting the certificate to complement that background. And PlumChoice likes our students at that level because they bring that core set of skills to get going while providing them with additional knowledge and experience that affords the company the chance to groom students into the type of employee it's seeking."

CCA's mission, in part, is to help its students obtain the necessary tools to find a career in the local workforce. That dovetails well with PlumChoice's desire to hire employees with long-term staying power.

The contract between PlumChoice and the students it hires part-time serves a dual purpose, allowing each the freedom to lower or raise hours as needed during busy academic or non-peak periods, respectively.

Borchard said that part-time employees hired at CCA have the ability to get some benefits after 30 days, including paid certifications with successful testing and available scholarships, in addition to a competitive salary.

"I think we're really offering a program that the student needs at a time he or she is going to school," Borchard said. "And it absolutely helps us with what we're doing."

About CCA

Community College of Aurora has campuses at CentreTech and Lowry in the greater Denver area. Equipped with the latest technologies, CCA allows students to study new and traditional programs while also offering Colorado online courses and degrees. CCA's service community spans 325,000 people in a 350-square-mile area. The college serves this diverse community by providing high quality instruction and support services to prepare students for transfer and employment.

Media Contact: Lee Rasizer, Community College of Aurora, 303-360-4728,

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SOURCE Community College of Aurora