Free program helping military veterans, unemployed gain tech jobs | Business

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Free program helping military veterans, unemployed gain tech jobs
Business, People

Nearly 100 military veterans, unemployed and underemployed individuals are now working in high tech positions thanks to a Jacksonville, Fla. foundation that offers free IT training.

And that's just the beginning of what Pragmatic Works Foundation organizers are planning.

Pragmatic Works Foundation is accepting applications now for its December 5 weeklong Microsoft analytics class. Students learn the basic skills needed to work as a database administrator or a reports writer using Microsoft SQL Server technology. Funded solely by donations from companies who have hired its graduates, Pragmatic Works Foundation is a bridge to the Fortune 1000.

“We take people who are not previously trained in IT, but have the passion to change their lives. And many of our graduates are making a difference at numerous large area employers, such as Beeline, LPS and others,” said Pragmatic Works’ CEO and Founder Brian Knight. “This is my way of giving back to an industry that helped change my life. It’s part of our culture at Pragmatic Works to make a positive difference in our community.”

Pragmatic Works Foundation has scheduled additional classes for February and April. A larger classroom is now under construction to accommodate a new program for inner-city kids that will launch during Spring Break 2012. Teens will take part in Robotics Camp, while younger kids will learn video game production using Microsoft’s Kodu system.

Short on funds due to having been unemployed more than a year, Miyaka Tabe traveled from Milwaukee for the Pragmatic Works Foundation training program, which she says, changed her life. After a week, she became so hooked on its training model that she stayed three additional weeks to complete an internship there.

“For me, words can't express my gratitude for this incredible stepping stone that Pragmatic Works Foundation has given me. I will always remain grateful for the priceless gift that was given to me and I will join in giving back to the community and helping others that are willing to embrace business intelligence,” Tabe said.

A month after returning to Wisconsin, Tabe accepted a database administrator position with a marketing intelligence company in Dallas, where she and her husband now live.

About 75-percent of Pragmatic Works Foundation graduates have attained employment in the IT industry; some graduates hired on within a week after completing the free training. Pragmatic Works has also hired several of its graduates at its headquarters.

Along with seeking new students, Pragmatic Works Foundation is hoping to attract new partner companies who will take part in a day of “speed-dating” interviews and recruiting events. Part of the free training involves social media networking and job interview skills.

“The companies who’ve hired our graduates have given us tremendous positive feedback. Some of our graduates have already been promoted to team leader positions because of their passion, which is what we’re all about,” Knight said.

About Pragmatic Works Foundation

Pragmatic Works Foundation, a non-profit IT training center servicing the greater Jacksonville area, works to educate and place passionate people who are interested in joining the technology field. Pragmatic Works Foundation is an outgrowth of Pragmatic Works, an analytics, consulting, training and software development company. In Sept. 2011, the Clay County Chamber of Commerce honored Pragmatic Works with a 2011 Business Excellence Award in its entrepreneur category. For more information, please contact Sherri McDonald at or by telephone at 904-638-5743, or online at

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