Training program helps stay-at-home parents, veterans find tech jobs

For some workers, getting into the tech industry can be tough, but one company is helping stay-at-home parents and veterans use their life skills to start over in that field.

As a stay-at-home mom for the last 11 years, Britt Heglund has found it hard to get back into the workforce. Now, she's getting some help overcoming the obstacles to starting a new career.

"You've got kids and people look at you,” said Heglund. “See, you've taken a path maybe they wouldn't have. There's that barrier."

Heglund is one of 14 trainees who are part of the Barriers to Entry program at the IT consulting firm York Solutions. The program pays stay-at-home parents, veterans and people looking to change careers to go through three weeks of training. It then finds them contract jobs as IT project managers at companies like 3M, Cargill and Xcel Energy.

"I think there are some talented, skilled people who are being looked over by the industry and so it’s an opportunity for people to step in and start a career that is going to give them a sustainable lifestyle," said Silvia Hinton, the vice president of Barriers to Entry.

York has placed 47 of the 52 graduates who have gone through the program since it started a year and half ago.

On average, they earn between $55,000 to $75,000 a year in the tech industry without a computer science degree.

"Sixty-five percent of the people who come into the program don't have technical backgrounds,” said Hinton. “What we look for is that aptitude. Are they humble? Are they hungry? Are they self starters? Are they strong communicators? So it’s those soft skills that you want to see when people come into an organization."

Heglund says she is ready to get back to work and Barriers to Entry is helping her clear the hurdles that until now have been in her way.

"Being a stay-at-home parent is incredibly difficult and I am ready to leave it," said Heglund.

There have been six training sessions since Barriers to Entry began. The latest three-week program started this week.