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Houston Innovation District to Host Tech-Training Classes

The Ion District, a technology park in Houston established as a joint project between the city and Rice University, will host tuition-free classes this fall for certifications from CompTIA and Google IT.

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(TNS) — The Ion District — Houston's innovation district — will host tuition-free tech-support certification classes this fall through a new partnership with Per Scholas, a nationwide nonprofit, the district announced Monday.

The first course, which kicks off in October at the Ion building, 4201 Main St., will focus on IT support roles and enable students to earn a CompTIA A+ certification and Google IT Support Professional Certificate. While Per Scholas also offers more advanced courses, this one is recommended for adults without previous experience in the technology industry. Applications are open now and due Sept. 25th.

"This investment will expand non-traditional learning opportunities for local Houstonians looking to develop new skills in our dynamic economy," said said Jan Odegard, the Ion's executive director, in a statement.

"We can't wait to get started," said Plinio Ayala, president and CEO of Per Scholas.

Per Scholas, headquartered in New York, offers classes in more than 20 cities. It says that its courses, which run 12-15 weeks, have a graduation rate of 85 percent, with more than 80 percent of graduates finding full-time work within a year of completion. Per Scholas Houston is its second Texas location, after Dallas.

The Ion district's partnership with Per Scholas to support workforce development is part of the 2021 community benefits agreement between the city of Houston and Rice University's Rice Management Co.

BlackRock and Comcast NBCUniversal are providing some financial support for the new program, the Ion said.

Sam Dike, an investment manager at Rice Management who is overseeing the implementation of Rice's deal with the city, told the Houston Chronicle in April that Per Scholas was among 18 organizations that responded to a request for proposals when the Ion was seeking a workforce development partner, and stood out easily: The nonprofit already had nearly 1,000 Houstonians on its waiting list.

©2023 the Houston Chronicle. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.