For a lot of prospective IT professionals, the biggest challenge is usually just getting a foot in the door, and finding that first IT job. And for people from disadvantaged backgrounds and areas, the challenge is much greater. For those people, the first step is the hardest one to take.
Enter Austin Free-Net, or AFN. AFN is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization located in Austin Texas, which provides technology education and support for people who want to begin careers in the information technology field, but lack the resources and knowledge required to get started. Along with other services, AFN essentially provides free access to the technology and training needed for people to gain a toe-hold in the information technology industry, and build their careers from there.
Now, AFN has begun offering IT certification courses, to enable aspiring IT pros to add specific IT certifications to their resume, to aid their job-hunting efforts and help them move up the IT career ladder. To start, the program is centered on three industry certifications from CompTIA - the A+, Network +, and Strata IT Fundamentals.
The courses themselves are instructor-led, and are offered in the Austin area only. And, unlike some of the other training offered by AFN, the classes aren't free. But they are significantly discounted. At a 40% discount from the rates typically offered by traditional training companies, the classes run $3,000. However, for students with a demonstrated financial need, AFN offers scholarships up to $2,700 - nearly the entire cost of the course.
Right now, the offering is limited to 12 students per class, and the classes run for 10 weeks. As mentioned above, the classes are only offered in the Austin area. But for aspiring IT professionals in the area who want to enter the IT field or enhance their careers, it's worth checking out. You can find more information at www.austinfree.net. Choose 'Continuing Education' from the top navigation bar.