NuPaths set to bring IT program to national stage

Cris Collingwood//January 7, 2022

NuPaths set to bring IT program to national stage

Cris Collingwood//January 7, 2022

A school born out of the need for information technology employees is expanding rapidly from its central Pennsylvania roots to the national scene. 

NuPaths, a company co-founded by Harrisburg University four years ago to certify students for entry level IT jobs, currently works with workforce development boards across the state, including Lehigh Valley, and is ready to expand across state lines with the help of Tech Quest Apprenticeship, a non-profit program that offers grants to students looking to get into the IT field.  

NuPaths is a skills-based program that prepares people for employment in 26 weeks with industry-approved certifications, said Andy Petroski, newly appointed president of the company.  

While most colleges and technical schools offer degrees in the IT field, the courses take two to four years to complete, which many people, for a variety of reasons, can’t fulfil. Petroski said NuPaths offers them a chance to get training and start working in a short amount of time. In fact, he said 82% of the graduates are employed within six months, making $15-$25 per hour. 

“One of the benefits of short-term credentialing programs like NuPaths is that they provide a steady stream of new IT talent for employers, versus businesses having to wait until May/June each year to hire recent college graduates.  The NuPaths programs start each month, and each program is offered multiple times per year.  So, at almost any time there is a group of graduating students who employers can consider as new talent for filling entry-level job roles right away,” he said. 

The school offers two paths: core IT programs that include IT security analyst, technical support specialist, network technician, and software testing analyst; and a business tech path which includes associate Website developer, digital marketing assistant and project analyst. 

“We built the program to get people into IT jobs quickly,” he said. The students learn the specific skills they need for the job and earn nine college credits at the same time. During the course, they can earn up to six industry certifications, he said. 

“There is a growing need to get people into upper levels in the IT field, but you need to fill the entry level positions first,” he said. 

The program costs about 50% of the cost of the same amount of college credits and about a third the cost of doing the training on one’s own with the cost of the credentials. Petroski said that 95% of the students receive grants from workforce boards and Tech Quest so there is no cost to them. 

“We offer a specific set of skills sufficient to fill job roles,” he said. “Fifty-eight percent of our students are minority and 30% are women.” 

The students grow and evolve in their fields and the certification is right with them, he said. “This is a great way to develop the whole person and it is a gateway to a higher job.” 

As the company moves into the national scene, it has been identified as a Consortium Member of Tech Quest Apprenticeship, a nation-wide apprenticeship program administered by Clark University in Worcester, Mass., Petroski said.  Clark University was awarded a $12 million apprenticeship grant from the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration to provide business technology and IT training nationwide to people struggling with unemployment and underemployment, and to those seeking to master relevant technology skills in an evolving workplace. 

Tech Quest Apprenticeship program will provide IT and IT-related apprenticeships to a minimum of 1000 apprenticeships and 4000 pre-apprenticeships individuals over the next four years in eight states: Florida; Massachusetts; California; Nevada; Pennsylvania; Oregon; Texas; and Missouri. Eligible participants include unemployed, underemployed, and incumbent workers. 

Once employed, most students advance pretty quickly, often earning $30 per hour in a short amount of time. “This is career focused and opens doors to various paths. A person can get a job and employers may pay for them to go on and get a degree,” he said. 

NuPaths works with high schools as well offering students an opportunity to learn about IT while continuing to follow a college or business path.  

For those looking for apprenticeship programs, Petroski said, this program makes students more competitive to get into them.