Out of Welfare and Into IT: A 'Win-Win' in N.Y.

By Bill Laberis, Computer World |  Career

Colon was among the first group of trainees, selected from a larger group based on interviews and related experience -- which was generally very sparse. Twenty percent dropout rates? Not with this group: 100% graduated. And of the 36 graduates who have gone through the training to date, 90% have been placed in IT jobs, with an average starting salary of $46,000. And about 40% of them are women, mostly single mothers.

Foley wants to expand his experiment to other U.S. cities. He's not doing anything that any number of employee-starved managers couldn't do, other than having the guts to do it.

Meanwhile, on most workdays at around 6 p.m., instead of lounging in front of the television, Colon is heading home on the Long Island Railroad, usuallly talking on his cell phone to one of the several clients he helps service. "I never had a bank account and could never buy my kids school clothes," he says. "Now I do both. I'm going to earn more and get more training and take advantage of what's out there."

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