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Summer Boot Camps Teach Valuable Professional Skills


A pair of intensive workshops held over the summer at Santa Ana College gave students a jump start on skills and tools they’ll need to thrive in today’s economy — and digital credentials that will be valuable assets during the job search.

Dr. Cathleen Greiner, Regional Director for the Business and Entrepreneurship Sector in Orange County, hosted free workshops on cybersecurity and women returning to the workforce, and plans to hold one on veterans in the workforce. Each event included hands-on training, including detailed presentations from employers in the field of study, current trends and workforce needs, as well as compressed workshops on skills from the CCCCO New World of Work (NwoW) project that culminated in participants earning five badges. The badges and completion of a week-long project were all dropped into an up-to-date or new LinkedIn Profile for their employment portfolio

The cybersecurity workshop was held from July 29-August 2 and included both the CompTIA IT Fundamentals Certification and several badges from the New World of Work 21st Century Skills curriculum. Students learned about the entrepreneurial mindset through Dr. Greiner’s partnership with the UC Irvine Center for Applied Innovation and the Kauffman Foundation’s 1 Million Cups program. The week-long program also included two days of presentations from OC regional cybersecurity employers and a LinkedIn profile expert.

The women returning to the workplace event was held August 12-16 and focused on skills such as creativity, innovation, and communication. Participants also learned how to reclaim success as they return to the workforce after an absence, and left with credentials to bolster their online profiles as they begin searching for jobs or starting their own business or side hustle.

A boot camp event aimed at veterans in the workforce is being planned and will focus on virtual and augmented reality, as well as entrepreneurship and how to succeed in the gig economy. It will include a presentation from a former Boeing engineer who created an outlet to teach technology to underserved communities. Participants will also focus on applied workplace skills, employability and leadership.

Dr. Greiner said she was very pleased with the boot camp events and found they really made an impact on participants.

“It was really moving to see the efforts the students went through to be there and how encouraged and energized they were to both move forward and know that all of us are there to be resources and support them on their journey,” Greiner said.

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