Contractor growing own IT workforce through hands-on program

Monday - 9/19/2011, 10:14am EDT

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Marlena Clark, systems engineer, Force 3 and Sudhir Verma, senior director, Force 3

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For federal agencies and contractors looking for good IT specialists, they may need to "grown their own."

That's what Force 3 did. The Crofton, Md.-based IT and communications contractor runs a training academy to prepare people for IT jobs and careers in the company.

The Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris spoke with Marlena Clark, a graduate of the program, and Sudhir Verma, a senior director at Force 3.

Clark, who cleaned houses and bartended to put herself through Anne Arundel Community College where she earned a degree in information security, said the training academy gave her a hands-on learning opportunity.

"I had the book knowledge from going through college, but I didn't have any hands-on experience other than the labs that we did in class," Clark, now a Force 3 systems engineer, said. "So it was exciting to get that first step."

Force 3 started the IT academy program three years ago, Verma said, and aims to provide "intense," hands-on technical training specifically for a federal environment.