Major corporations like JP Morgan Chase and IBM have recently made headlines about outsourcing jobs abroad to stay afloat during the recession.¬† Workforce Outsource Services (WOS), a non-profit charitable organization, is successfully keeping jobs in the United States that are often outsourced to countries such as India. In fact, WOS may very well bring back jobs.
WOS has had a transformational effect on graduates including¬† Rafaella Danta, 22, who moved to Newark from the Philippines when he was 15, and now works full-time in application development at Prudential in Newark and attends Rutgers Business School; and Gillian Griffiths, 25, a native of Jamaica who moved to New York when she was 6 years old, completed her B.A. at the University of Phoenix's Jersey City campus, and works full-time now at Prudential in Newark as a Distributed Computing Networking Associate.
WOS works with top universities such as Columbia and Rutgers to provide intense, 16-month college level certification programs and training to low-income minorities with high school degrees to prepare for careers in technology. WOS hires students 13 weeks after they complete their first term of study, and provides an income while students learn how to balance work and school.
Upon completion of the certification, WOS pays 100% tuition for students to obtain their undergraduate degree.¬† The program was launched in 2005 and has helped the communities of New York City and Newark, and launched its expansion into Akron, Ohio in late April.
WOS recently graduated 18 students at Rutgers-Newark and the students already landed jobs at Horizon Blue Cross of NJ and at MedCo in Newark.
This is a win-win for WOS, its clients, and the community because it educates and employs young people who otherwise face difficult obstacles pursuing a future after high school.¬† Clients such as Prudential, Medco, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the Museum of Modern Art, and Thirteen/WNET have a pool of young, enthusiastic, trained workers at competitive rates - rates that compete with outsourcing firms. In fact, the entire help desk staff at Thirteen/WNET is comprised of WOS students and graduates.
New firms are catching on.¬† Johnson & Johnson has just come aboard and will employ four students in mid-May. Another consulting firm, GalaxE, is seeking to sponsor 1,000 students over four years to help stimulate employment in New Jersey. GalaxE is reducing its use of employees in India to support this objective.
The program is the brainchild of Dr. Art Langer, who is also the Senior Director of the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Community Engagement at Columbia University's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.
- ANDY LAGOMARSINO, NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM