EMPACT Program Awards IT Certifications to Nine Graduates

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) — “There is one word that comes to mind, for me, when I think about the Google IT certification program and this class, and that word is transformation,” said Dr. Rebecca Ashford, President of Chattanooga State Community College.

Monday, nine people graduated from the City of Chattanooga’s EMPACT Google IT program, which provides successful students with a credential in information technology at no personal cost.

With weekly stipends and transportation assistance, the program aims to overcome systemic barriers that stand in the way of graduation.

“A lot of you — it was about breaking a cycle, breaking a cycle of generational lack of wealth,” said Ryan Ewalt, Chief Operations Officer of the City of Chattanooga.

According Columbia University Teachers College, the average completion rate for similar programs is 15 percent.

EMPACT has achieved as success rate of 90 percent.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest for us to work together to solve this problem, to bring together businesses who need talent and workers that need jobs,” said Cheryl Milsaps of the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce.

This is the second class to graduate from the recurring nine week program.

“For the first time in my life, I was presented with a pathway to success that had the ability to remove barriers and open up the doorway to a career, not just a job,” said Stacey Bradley, an EMPACT graduate.

“This is a comma, not a period, in your life story. Continue to write it and write it well,” said Charolette Brand, EMPACT Program Coordinator.

One graduate mentioned that they had job interviews lined up as soon as Monday afternoon.

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