Our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy is based on improving economic well-being, not just for our employees, but for our communities. Ten years ago, we pioneered a model that provides high-paying technology careers in rural America. We have continued to embrace that tradition with new initiatives to provide our communities with opportunity and income that keep them growing and intact. The latest iteration of this is our “Step It Up America – Rural” (“SIUA Rural”) program which hires, trains, and places individuals from non-traditional backgrounds into technical roles. This program not only alleviates typical industry burdens of finding qualified technical employees, but greatly benefits the individual, as well as the community. The SIUA Rural program is a great complement to the Step It Up America program run by our parent company, UST Global.
While UST Global’s program is focused on sourcing and training candidates in specific skills for eventual placement at customers’ offices, the SIUA Rural program is designed to provide more general foundational skillsets around Quality Assurance, Test Automation and DevOps. This foundation allows SIUA Rural talent to rapidly consume additional, skill-specific training that directly pertains to client needs. In keeping with its mission to revitalize rural America with technology jobs, most SIUA Rural graduates remain in the rural center ecosystem in which they were trained and in which they already live.
What is SIUA Rural?
The SIUA Rural program is a factory training model that is two pronged and targets two pools of community members. First is to provide opportunities to under-privileged candidates such as low income, low education, minorities, & single parents through training and placement into high-demand jobs in the IT industry. Second is to also target candidates that have attained a college degree in a non-traditional field who are unemployed or under-employed.
Through this program, we have developed our own unique way to find and train qualified professionals to fill current and future project needs. Candidates spend 90 days going through a rigorous hands-on training program with a thorough and balanced curriculum. The proven program takes individuals without an IT background and provides them the necessary skill-set to successfully become job ready and ready for placement in software development project teams. Target roles vary, but most candidates are pushed down technical career paths where they are needed most, and have been successfully able to adapt to roles that rely on heavy coding such as automation or development. At the end of the 90 days, the SIUA Rural candidates graduate by completing their coursework and obtaining industry standard third-party certifications. Next they are placed into development teams and follow career path progressions like any other Xpanxion employee.
There are three primary pillars that help the SIUA Rural program turn out highly capable talent that is ready to hit the ground running upon program graduation:
- Selection of the right candidates
- We utilize a detailed screening process to ensure candidates selected for the program will indeed succeed
- Mentoring, guidance and shadowing
- Experienced resources are paired with SIUA Rural candidates from the very beginning
- Hands-on projects are the norm to ensure sufficient exposure to real-world work
- Formalized Program
- The SIUA Rural program is formalized and fully documented. Every hour is accounted for and planned. Nothing is left to chance.
Commitment to Quality
Despite its humble beginnings and somewhat philanthropic nature, the SIUA Rural program never cuts corners or compromises on quality. A rigorous recruiting process and aggressive training, education, and mentoring program ensures SIUA Rural resources are able to provide best-in-class capabilities for all client engagements.
Benefits of SIUA Rural
While the benefits to the individual are obvious, SIUA Rural drives additional benefits to both Xpanxion and our clients.
- The newly developed candidate pool that SIUA Rural provides adds scalability, and reduces engagement and ramp-up times. It allows us to become even more nimble and provides us the ability to serve clients even better.
- Clients can enjoy lower cost structures while enjoying the same level of quality as they could always expect from us.
- Our ability to bring in non-traditional candidates under this program and develop their skills has been a great success. Now, without the limitation of only considering technically qualified candidates, we can now choose candidates on a variety of other non-technical factors including cultural fit, communication skills, and high aptitude to learn. This provides the most well-rounded employees and allows us to focus on hiring for skills that are often untrainable
- The SIUA Rural program helps lift team satisfaction by providing opportunities to people who might not have previously had access to these types of opportunities. We understand that happy employees are employees that deliver superior client value and stay for the long term. This builds loyalty and long-term employees from the start, and is a major goal of the SIUA Rural program.
- The SIUA Rural program additionally provides much needed “liquidity” to an intentional bench and provides additional flexibilty to our other resourcing programs like “Up or Out” and the “Anchor Program”. These programs allow other resources to transition to other Xpanxion engagements in a strategic fashion but require some level of bench to operate as intended. SIUA Rural graduates added to the bench keep bench costs down and provide the necessary manpower to keep transitions moving fluidly.
Interested in applying for the SIUA Rural program? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.