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8 Eastern Kentuckians complete first step to dynamic careers in tech industry

Interns Succeed in first phase of latest TEKY work-based internship involving CentralApp Technologies, Salesforce

Eight Eastern Kentuckians have completed the first step to dynamic new careers in the tech industry as part of the latest TechHire Eastern Kentucky (TEKY) affiliated work-based learning internship.

CentralApp Technologies is partnering with the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc. (EKCEP) and Teleworks USA to assist the interns as they undertake a rigorous, nine-month immersive curriculum compiled and delivered by CentralApp. Eight of the original 10 interns accepted into the internship have successfully completed the first phase of the program, having earned certifications as Administrators for Salesforce, the Customer Success Platform and world’s top CRM company.

Salesforce empowers companies to connect with their customers in a whole new way. For more information about Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), visit: http://www.salesforce.com.

That 80 percent of the first cohort of interns are moving on to the second phase of the program is no small feat, noted EKCEP Director of Agency Expansion Michael Cornett, especially when considering most of the initial cohort of interns had little to no prior experience in software development or administration.

“The TEKY model is one that puts Eastern Kentuckians who are interested in a high-tech career, but who may not have the experience or credentials to find employment, on a fast track to earning industry-recognized tech certifications,” Cornett said. “And with CentralApp, it not only means they’ll have the knowledge and experience to gain employment, but if they successfully complete the full nine-month internship, they have a job with CentralApp—one that they can work remotely within Eastern Kentucky—waiting for them at the end.”

Now in the second phase of the program, the interns are transitioning into a six-month period comprised of both remote preparation and onsite activity at the primary internship site within the Kentucky Career Center JobSight workforce center in Hazard. They will work over the next three months on preparing to earn a second certification as a Salesforce App Builder.

Those who earn that certification will continue in the internship and prepare to test for a critical, third certification as a Salesforce Developer. If successful in earning the third certification, they will begin a full-time, work-from-home position with CentralApp Technologies.

“As our company grew so did the need for qualified workers,” stated Andrew Rieser, president of Mountain Point, a Charlotte, N.C., Salesforce and Cloud ERP consulting firm. “We initially turned to off-shore developers and then quickly realized that all throughout Appalachia there are extremely talented individuals eager for an opportunity to participate in the larger broadband economy of today’s information age.”

This led Rieser to co-found CentralApp Technologies with the mission to unlock the technology potential of Appalachia and rural America by bringing high paid, remote opportunities to this region severely impacted by the economic downturn.

“We are focused on meeting the needs of one of the fastest growing, in-demand skills out there, with more than 300,000 job postings calling for Salesforce skills,” said Dr. Lee Kraus, whose background is in the training design and development and currently is facilitating the internship program for CentralApp. “These certifications, developed by Salesforce, provide confidence for employers when looking for talent and partnering with Salesforce consultants.”

CentralApp Technologies was formed in 2016 with the commitment to seek, find, and equip people living in central Appalachia to transition from the region’s traditional employment sources in the coal industry and other sectors into technology careers that can be performed remotely. The company’s goal is to “insource” jobs back to rural Appalachia that in years past have been performed by workers in other countries.

“This idea and CentralApp’s mission dovetail nicely with our own mission at EKCEP, which is to prepare, advance, and expand the workforce of Eastern Kentucky,” Cornett said. “We strive to help people get the skills needed to succeed in the workforce, while also working to diversify our region’s economy.”

The CentralApp internship is being offered in Hazard in collaboration with EKCEP’s Teleworks USA initiative, which identifies and connects prospective teleworkers with legitimate remote-work, distance learning opportunities while also delivering frequent, regional workshops preparing them to apply for and secure remote-work positions with global and national telework employers.

The fast-track model CentralApp is now employing has already met with success in Eastern Kentucky with the Pikeville web development firm Bit Source. In 2015, EKCEP partnered with Bit Source as the company selected 10 people–nine of whom were laid-off coal industry workers–to become interns who trained to write computer code, and eventually obtain full-time employment with Bit Source as website and mobile app developers.

In September 2016, the first TEKY cohort of 49 interns began an immersive work-based learning internship led by Louisville-based software development innovator Interapt, which specializes in mobile app development for major corporations. By early January 2017, 35 people had completed that internship’s immersive coding curriculum and launched work-based internship activity with Interapt at the TEKY site at Big Sandy Community and Technical College’s Mayo Campus in Paintsville. Those interns should be prepared to transition into employment with Interapt by late April.

“Through our participation in previous TEKY initiatives, we already knew that our workforce in Eastern Kentucky includes many people with the aptitude to work in the tech industry,” Cornett said. “So when CentralApp approached EKCEP with the idea to put a small cohort of people on the fast track to becoming Salesforce developers, we knew this was a model that could work well for the company and our workforce.”

For more information on CentralApp Technologies, and the ongoing internship program, visit http://centralapptechnologies.com/.

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