Empowering young people for successful STEM careers
At CGI, we believe in inspiring and educating people across society to improve their technical and business literacy — capabilities that are critical for the success of our digital society.
Within our U.S. operations, our New York office joined forces with New Jersey’s P-TECH initiative in 2019 to help students from underserved communities explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
P-TECH is a global education model that offers students all over the world the opportunity to develop skills and competencies that will translate directly to competitive careers. The initiative focuses primarily on students from underserved backgrounds by providing them with an alternative path to earn a high school diploma and an industry-recognized associate degree at their own pace while gaining relevant work experience.
Keeping students in school for a promising career
As an industry partner to the New Brunswick school district in New Jersey, we introduce children to STEM fields as early as elementary school through our STEM@CGI program. We also encourage them to join a P-TECH school to gain the academic, technical and workplace skills they need for a successful IT career.
A team of our professionals, who graduated in the last five years, mentors P-TECH students for the four to six years they spend in the program. Students have the opportunity to shadow our consultants and senior consultants during the summer, attend internal meetings and sign up for a paid internship when they turn 18. These activities enable them to get real-world corporate experience. They also familiarize the students with CGI’s culture, should they choose to work with us after they graduate. As Mike Reagan, Senior Vice-President, Consulting Services, U.S. East Operations, summarizes: “They can hit the ground running from day one.”
Bridging the skills gap
We also collaborate with P-TECH schools to define the skills students require to enter the job market. To complement the academic and technical training they receive, we worked with Skillsoft, our long-standing learning provider, to provide business and soft skills resources. Within 18 months of beginning the project, New Brunswick P-TECH students gained access — at no cost — to a tailored bilingual (English and Spanish) learning platform that will further help them unlock their potential.
“Programs like P-TECH, particularly when supported by committed, engaged employers such as CGI, are instrumental in empowering individuals to unleash their full potential. Skillsoft is proud to partner with CGI and support the P-TECH program as we understand how learning opens doors to new possibilities, transforming both lives and livelihoods for the students participating,” said Mark Onisk, Skillsoft’s Chief Content Officer and Executive Sponsor of the company’s relationship with CGI.
Building a diverse resource pool for the future
Since joining the P-TECH program, we have supported three groups of students and will add a new one in the summer of 2022. These 112 students from diverse backgrounds — female, Black, Hispanic, with special education needs and/or economically underserved — will potentially join us a few years from now and become the leaders of tomorrow.
“I think the P-TECH model is revolutionary in that public school students have the opportunity to be prepared for a career straight out of high school. Over the past two years, it has been great collaborating with the school’s teachers and administrators, my CGI colleagues, and our partners at Skillsoft to expand the students’ career, academic and life skills. The students are bright and eager to learn. I look forward to them joining us as CGI professionals in the future,” said Gianna Capriotti, Consultant, U.S. East Operations and P-TECH liaison.