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New program builds tech worker pipeline

MAPE is partnering with the state to build a new information technology training program designed to meet the future IT needs of state agencies.

The MNIT-MN Pathways ITS Trainee Program is intended to provide a pipeline of trained employees into entry-level positions with Minnesota IT Services (MNIT). Six trainees were welcomed to the program last week.

Professional development and advancement were key issues discussed during hundreds of listening sessions held across the state in preparation for 2017-19 contract negotiations.

“About a year ago, MAPE Executive Director Lina Jamoul and I were doing some listening sessions around diversity and inclusion issues and how people felt about working for the state and what challenges they were facing,” said Ellena Schoop, a system architect with MNIT and Region 7 director. “A lot of people had concerns about the lack of clear career paths for entry-level and more seasoned employees within state government.”

MNIT Pathways training program

In the photo on the right, MAPE and state representatives celebrate the launch of the new MNIT-MN Pathways ITS Trainee Program. From left to right, are: MAPE Region 7 Director Ellena Schoop, MAPE Executive Director Lina Jamoul, MNIT Commissioner Johanna Clyborne, Director of Strategic Workforce Initiatives Emma Corrie and MNIT recruiter Dave Berthiaume.

Shortly afterward, MAPE members met with Gov. Mark Dayton’s director of Strategic Workforce Initiatives, Emma Corrie, to see how MAPE could work with her to tackle the issue of career paths for state workers. Corrie told them about the MNIT-MN Pathways ITS Trainee Program that was in its planning stage, and invited MAPE to be a partner and help develop the program.

“It is exciting to see our public sector partners collaborating on shared career pathway programs focused on building a strong and more diverse state, county and municipal workforce,” Corrie said.

“The trainees are covered under the MAPE contract, and our members are very willing to mentor them and help them be successful in their careers with the state. This program helps bring new people, especially people of color, into state service. Hopefully, once they see that the state is investing in them early, they’ll be committed to serving the citizens of Minnesota well into the future,” Schoop said.

Schoop said she plans to meet with the current trainees soon to see if they have questions about MAPE or the contract.

Within one year of starting the program, participants will complete more than 960 hours of classroom training, independent work time and module testing to satisfy all program and technical requirements. Satisfactory performance, determined by the participants’ supervisors, will determine when trainees are converted to a probationary status in the ITS 1 classification. Up to two dozen participants are expected to participate in the program its first year.

In addition to MAPE, other program partners include the Department of Labor, Minnesota Management and Budget, city of Minneapolis, Prime Digital Academy and The Software Guild.