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July 13, 2000


An intensive computer training scholarship program sponsored by UMBC's Computer Certification Training Center, the Center for Women and Information Technology and social service programs in Baltimore City is helping 16 women achieve new career opportunities.

The scholarship recipients were chosen from programs in Baltimore City that provide holistic approaches to helping women and their families transition from backgrounds of domestic violence, substance abuse and working poverty to more secure jobs and housing. The women began their first of four 30-hour weeks of classroom and computer lab work on Monday, July 10, at the UMBC Computer Certification Training Center (CCTC) in Woodlawn. .

At the end of the course, on August 4, the women are scheduled to have completed A+ certification training. A+ certification focuses on computer hardware and operating systems, providing students with the necessary skills to build, troubleshoot, repair and maintain computer systems. A+ certified job seekers often qualify for positions with pay ranges of $18,000 to $30,000 a year. .

CCTC and Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT), which are both affiliated with UMBC, have joined forces with Caroline Center, the YWCA, the Maryland Center for Arts and Technology, Marian House, and the Women's Housing Coalition to sponsor the pilot program. .

"We wanted to do something to give back to the community that has been so good to us," said Roy Bigler, Managing Director of CCTC. "We decided there was probably no better way than trying to help a group of hard-working and deserving women, while at the same time impacting the disproportionate representation of women in the IT workplace." .

"Information Technology is not a gender-oriented job," said Patrick O'Connor, who has taught computer courses at Caroline Center for three years. "These women are excited, ready and prepared for this opportunity." Caroline Center is a women's employment training organization sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. .

The scholarships cover all costs for textbooks, CD ROMS, lab materials, tool kits, sample exams, a certification exam, free computer lab access and unlimited class auditing for up to one year. UMBC Career Services is also helping the women with job search, resume writing, and interviewing skills. Bridges to Work, thanks to a grant by the Abell Foundation, is providing transportation to and from classes for program participants. The program sponsors are currently working with Baltimore corporations to explore internship opportunities for scholarship recipients upon graduation. For more information on the A+ scholarships program, go to

Posted by dwinds1 at July 13, 2000 12:00 AM