Recruiting for the Information Technology

Recruiting for the Information Technology Age (RITA) is a multifaceted project to increase the number of women represented in the information technology (IT) sector. Through RITA, Women Work!’s member programs partner with local employers to create collaborative relationships that move women into high-paying, stable jobs. Employer partners inform training design and provide job shadowing, internship, on-the-job-training and site visit opportunities to students. As a result, women are knowledgeable about job opportunities and requirements, gain work experience and have a ‘foot in the door’ with their local employers.

Project Outcomes

  • Women Work! has implemented RITA at 17 sites in 11 states since 1998, working with member organizations in North Carolina, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Oregon, South Dakota, Maine, New Jersey, Colorado, Wisconsin and Idaho
  • Hundreds of women have been exposed to IT careers, with more than 300 completing education and training that leads to an internship, apprenticeship, or full-time job earning at least $9.00 an hour
  • Partnerships have been established with nearly 100 IT employers
  • Women Work! creates resources and publications, such as Getting IT Across , to share strategies for recruiting women into lucrative, non-traditional careers

Current Project Update 
Wisconsin Women Work! and Idaho Women Work! have each been implementing RITA at eight different sites since April 2005 and June 2005, respectively. Both projects have had tremendous success helping women acquire training and work experience that will lead to family-supporting wages, and wrap up December 31, 2006. In coordination with the program managers in these states, Women Work! will conduct a final evaluation of each project in January. Visit www.womenwork.org later this winter for more information about their results and success!

Learn About RITA 
Program managers for Wisconsin and Idaho will lead a workshop on RITA at Women Work!’s 2007 National Conference! Don’t miss your chance to gain insight and lessons-learned from members who have just conducted this project. Click here for more details.

For information on encouraging women to consider IT careers, order Getting IT Across today! This FREE guide for organizational members will help you effectively counsel women on the benefits and challenges of a nontraditional career.

How to Conduct RITA 
Women Work! offers technical assistance and support to any of our member programs interested in implementing RITA, and can provide assistance with grant proposals when needed. For more information on how you can partner with Women Work! on this exciting project, contact Erin Currier at ecurrier@womenwork.org or 202-467-6346.

Outcomes of Idaho Women Work!’s RITA Project

Background

In 2005, Idaho Women Work! received a grant from the Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor to implement Recruiting for the Information Technology Age (RITA), an initiative to increase the number of women represented in the information technology sector. Through RITA, women receive education, job training, and life skills services and support. Program managers also reach out to and partner with local employers to facilitate information sharing about jobs skills gaps and employer needs and to move students into internships, apprenticeships or jobs during and after training.

Through Idaho Women Work!’s grant, RITA was conducted at the following six Center for New Directions sites: Eastern Idaho Technical College ( Idaho Falls ), Boise State University ( Boise ), Idaho State University ( Pocatello ), North Idaho College ( Coeur d’Alene ), Lewis-Clark State College ( Lewiston ), and the College of Southern Idaho ( Twin Falls ). The grant period was June 2005 through December 2006. Women Work! national provided technical assistance on the grant, and served as the fiscal agent for the state affiliate.

Results

Idaho Women Work! had significant success implementing the project, and far exceeded their identified performance measures.

Overall RITA Project Outcomes:

  • 79 women received education, training, and support services
  • 54 women completed training and 49 women demonstrated significant progress in skill attainment
  • 66% of participants were employed or actively seeking employment upon completion of training
  • 45 employer partnerships were established

Through RITA, participants gained increased confidence in their ability to obtain and keep a job in a nontraditional sector.

  • 92% reported that the project increased their confidence in applying for jobs.
  • 88% reported that the training they received increased their job skills.
  • 77% reported that the training prepared them for job placement.
  • 67% reported that participation in the project helped them achieve a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Program managers in Idaho observed positive growth in their students as a result of RITA.

Many ID RITA participants would not be able to continue school without the financial help or the linkage to financial assistance. The emotional support and life skills workshops [were] valued by the students. 

The participants benefit greatly both in their skill development as well as their confidence. I anticipate that the need for this type assistance will continue.

The financial help was crucial for our low-income women to [be able to] purchase things to be competitive in their chosen fields.

This has been a very well-received program and everyone would like to see it continue.

The project provided an opportunity to provide intensive career readiness to a sector of our student population that has historically focused on hard skill training

Congratulations to Idaho Women Work! for their successful completion of this time-intensive project! 

The dedication and determination of the Centers for New Directions project managers truly made a difference in the lives of the women who were served through this grant, and provided valuable experience and lessons learned for future implementation of RITA throughout the Women Work! Network.

Outcomes of Wisconsin Women Work!’s RITA Project

Background

In 2005, Wisconsin Women Work! received a grant from the Employment and Training Administration of the Department of Labor to implement Recruiting for the Information Technology Age (RITA), an initiative to increase the number of women represented in the information technology sector. Through RITA, women receive education, job training, and life skills services and support. Program managers also reach out to and partner with local employers to facilitate information sharing about jobs skills gaps and employer needs and to move students into internships, apprenticeships or jobs during and after training.

Through Wisconsin Women Work!’s grant, RITA was conducted at The Opportunity Center (housed in Western Technical College ) in LaCrosse, and Interfaith Older Adult Services in Milwaukee . The grant period was June 2005 through December 2006. Women Work! national provided technical assistance on the grant, and served as the fiscal agent for the state affiliate.

Results

Wisconsin Women Work! had significant success implementing the project, and far exceeded their identified performance measures.

Overall RITA Project Outcomes:

  • 51 women received education, training and support services
  • 43 women completed training and 38 women demonstrated significant progress in skill attainment
  • 62% of participants were employed or actively seeking employment upon completion of training
  • 24 employer partnerships were established

Through RITA, participants gained increased confidence in their ability to obtain and keep a job in a nontraditional sector.

  • 74% reported that the project increased their confidence in applying for jobs
  • 83% reported that the training they received increased their job skills
  • 83% reported that the training prepared them for job placement
  • 61% reported that participation in the project helped them achieve a more self-sufficient lifestyle

Program managers at The Opportunity Center and Interfaith Older Adult Services observed positive growth in their students as a result of RITA.

We observed a dramatic transformation for many of the students. They demonstrated a professional appearance, confidence, and were very articulate in their presentation.

We were able to give the opportunity of a college education to students and watch them struggle and then succeed in classes. They will now serve as role models to their own children and demonstrate to them what it takes to set goals and reach them. 

“The self-confidence of the students has increased tremendously and they are now establishing other goals which they know they can accomplish with determination and hard work.”

Congratulations to Wisconsin Women Work! for their successful completion of this time-intensive project! 

The dedication and determination of the project managers from The Opportunity Center and Interfaith Older Adult Services truly made a difference in the lives of the women who were served through this grant, and provided valuable experience and lessons learned for future implementation of RITA throughout the Women Work! Network.