Darby Patterson is no ordinary journalist. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara and writing extensively about technology, Patterson took a next step to invest beyond only writing about it. “However, it wasn’t going to be fixing anyone’s computers, as she chides outright that “no one would want me fixing their computer!”  What captured Patterson’s heart however, was knowing that fixing computers and working at help desk centers would become the economic drivers that they have become, with positions flourishing for those who could afford the training.

(Photo Courtesy of Darby Patterson)

(Photo Courtesy of Darby Patterson)

Aware of existing economic disparities, Patterson instead brought the Stride Center to Sacramento in 2009. “The Stride Center is a nonprofit training program that helps disadvantaged people step up to potentially good paying jobs in the tech sector. It’s a life changing opportunity for the right candidate.”

“Essentially, we work with people who have not had educational opportunities and seem doomed to remain in dead-end jobs, or jobs that will never pay much more than minimum wage. Our graduates generally earn about $16.50 an hour to start. But there is no ceiling on IT salaries, it’s up to the individual!  We’ve had students as young as 18 and others who are grandparents. They’ve come from all over the world and even from some of Sacramento’s most economically deprived neighborhoods.”

“Our program succeeds where others fail because we are committed to the success of each student. If they are invited to be in a class, we wrap our collective arms around them and help them overcome barriers. The class is rigorous and structured. It’s boot camp for Nerds! Our pass rate on the A+ exam is over 90 percent in Sacramento; whereas, nationwide it’s 35 percent and lower. It’s because our curriculum is excellent, our teachers are gifted and our team believes in the mission.”

Potential applicants are invited to the next orientation to learn about the program at www.stridecenter.org and to fill out an application for the next class in A+ January 20, at the Highlands Community Charter School. Class size is limited so calling early is important.

Karen Hansen M.S. Earth Sciences, has been an educator and consultant who is currently an analyst regarding land and other public information records. She lives and works in Sacramento, CA. She has been writing about earth and the environmental sciences for Examiner.com since May of 2010. Find her work in several sections of the publication. You can find her work at SF Solar Energy Examiner, SF Environmental News Examiner and Environmental News Examiner 

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