For 13 years, Computer Tutor Business and Technical Institute has offered the public a free and easy way to get employed through their government-funded work experience program. This year, the institute has a number of grants to hand out to the public once again.
Computer Tutor is located in Modesto and offers a convenient way for individuals to learn the skills needed to compete in the job market through computer software training, clerical programs, accounting courses, medical and computer technical programs. Through grants funded by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the institute is able to offer these services or paid work experience for individuals age 17-24, free of charge.
Individuals who qualify can receive free training through the career college to become a medical clerk, accounting clerk or administrative assistant, or, if they want to go directly into the work force, Computer Tutor will place them in a local job where they will be trained with all wages paid by the institute.
“Employers love it because they’re getting employees whose wages are covered,” said Computer Tutor Director George Rawe.
After being placed in a job locally, the individual will work for and be trained by their employer for six to eight weeks, and work 29 hours a week making minimum wage. At the end of the training period, the employer has the option to hire the individual.
“What’s unique about it is that we cover their training costs, so this is really about giving them the skills they need in the work force,” said Rawe.
The work experience training is not limited to certain careers, either.
“There are no set limitations,” said Rawe. “If you want to be a gardener, we’ll find a landscape company that will put you to work.”
Individuals who chose to receive free training through the career college rather than work experience gain a hard skill set, said Rawe, or a specific talent to market out to employers. Through the work experience program, individuals gain soft skills – what it means to be an employee, showing up on time and interacting with coworkers.
“What’s important is that they get the skills they need in order to be successful on the job and that they’re not just working minimum wage jobs forever,” said Rawe. “Many participants are low-income, so this gives them the opportunity to go forward without having any kind of debt.”
To help hopeful participants discover if they are eligible for the program, Computer Tutor offers orientations at 2 p.m. every day, which include a private, one-on-one interview with a youth coordinator. Though Rawe explained that no one should exclude themselves, typical qualifiers include low income, former foster children, individuals who have been arrested or incarcerated, disabilities and many more.
“The list goes on and on,” said Rawe. “We look for a way to get them qualified for the program; if they come to an orientation and spend 30 minutes with us, we’ll do what we can to get them qualified and if we’re not successful we’ll point them in the right direction.”
Currently, Computer Tutor has about 75 grants to hand out to those who are interested in jumpstarting their careers. According to Rawe, the institute gave away all of last year’s grants by December. Between 83 and 85 percent of individuals who participate in the program find success, meaning that they are either employed or continuing on their education for an advanced degree at the experience’s end.
“A lot of people tell me they don’t apply for these grants because they don’t think it’s real,” said Rawe. “This is real, and it’s free. There truly is a government grant and it’s no cost to you.”
Computer Tutor Business and Technical Institute is located at 4300 Sisk Road in Modesto and can be reached at 209-545-5200.