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Success Stories: How Interest in Workforce Equity & Record Unemployment Can Narrow the Tech Skills Gap

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Jade Denson
Minnesota Technology Association, Director of Community Engagement

Jade Denson Director of Community Engagement 952-230-4538

Jade is a passionate relationship builder responsible for finding ways to deepen MHTA’s partnerships in the community. Jade’s work involves identifying impactful engagement opportunities for MHTA members and seeking out ways to collaborate with other Minnesota organizations who are driving technology and innovation forward. Her investment in an inclusive technology workforce is most recently showcased in her previous role with Genesys Works Twin Cities involving securing and stewarding partnerships with fortune 500 companies to provide IT internship opportunities for undeserved high school students. Jade’s role at MHTA combines her personal and professional values of fostering innovation and collaboration while keeping people at the forefront. Although originally from California, Jade graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa and has spent the last 5 years building out her life in Minnesota. She enjoys collecting art, supporting local artists, and attending events in her community.

Shafie Abshir
SUCCESS Computer Consulting, Remote Support Triage Tech
Kate Kirschner
CompTIA Tech Career Academy, Midwest Regional Manager, Career Services

Offering an expanded IT-Ready Technical Support Program to train and prepare unemployed and under-employed adults for their first IT jobs, CompTIA Tech includes hard technical skills training needed to pass CompTIA A+ certification as well as soft skills and career services.

We believe tech careers should be accessible to anyone with a dream and passion to pursue them. To that end, we offer tuition grants to qualifying students to help subsidize a student’s tuition costs.

Jillayne Berg
Center for Diagnostic Imaging, Director, Operations Support - IT

Jillayne is an experienced leader with a focus on customer service and process improvement. In her 14-year tenure at the Center for Diagnostic Imaging, she has had the opportunity to shape the patient experience as it connects to technology. In her current role as Director of Operations Support in IT, she is building support teams and processes that serve the constantly adjusting needs of healthcare. Jillayne’s experiences working as a youth leader in a small farming community to Home Health Care in California and then to IT Support at a national healthcare organization have shaped the way she views diversity and inclusion in the workforce. At CDI, she has been intentional about building a diverse support team because she has seen how diversity enables us to meet the needs of our customers more completely. 

Muhamed Ibrahim
Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI), Enterprise Support Specialist
Tom Hawj
Tech Guru, IT Systems Administrator
Angela Curtis
Medtronic, Technical User Support Analyst

I am Technical User Support Analyst at Medtronic. I have been providing software and hardware support to end users at Medtronic for over 3 years. My knowledge of IT systems and application give me the ability to provide excellent customer service to my clients. My work involves first level technical support via phone or email using remote support tools. Prior to joining Medtronic, I was employed as an Office Supervisor at Guy Carpenter and Company.  My love and passion for technology led me to applying for IT-Ready Technical Support Program. After graduating from the IT-Ready Technical Support Program in 2017, I obtained my CompTIA A+ CE Certification. Through Medtronic and my opportunity to be selected for the Desktop Support Loan Program, I obtained my Dell EMC Certified Professional Certification in 2020.  I have a BS in Criminal Justice from Georgia State University and an AAS in Correction from St Louis Community College at Florissant Valley. My love for Technology and helping people makes me ideal for a career in IT.   I have desire and passion to bridge the gap and help with the effort of getting more women involved in IT.  I have joined TechGirlz as a Volunteer to further their mission to inspireschoolgirls to explore the possibilities of technology and to empower their future careers. I am a sport enthusiast who enjoys watching tennis and basketball.  I also enjoy traveling, spending time with my family, and volunteer work.

As the economy works to recover from pandemic conditions and our country reckons with systemic inequality, addressing the tech skills gap especially among unemployed and underemployed Americans is more important than ever. Hear success stories from graduates of technical job training programs created to address these issues head on.