Amenta Christian-Robertson has always loved science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She was a star student in the Biotechnology Career Path at Clyde C. Miller Career Academy on Grand, in the heart of downtown St. Louis.
âI was in the St. Louis internship program since my second year of high school. So I had this core of how to behave and how to do interviews. I did an engineering internship at Emerson. I graduated as a promotion major in 2011, âshe recalls with a smile.
Eager to follow her passion for science, Amenta went to the University of Missouri-Columbia for a double degree in chemical engineering and computer science. After completing her two years of college, she came home.
âI was ready for career and college and prepared for the best, but only to a certain extent,â Amenta explained.
“Columbia, Missouri and the Rigorous Chemical Engineering Program [at Mizzou] were a bit overwhelming. No one wanted to hire me in Colombia.
Amenta took a break from education. To repay part of her student loans with Mizzou, she started tutoring students and playing the role of DJ Menti-Fresh at parties and events. In 2015, she started driving for Postmates, an American q-commerce company owned by Uber. It is known to quickly deliver small quantities of restaurant meals and other products. Although Amenta earned around $ 150 a day a few days a week, the income was often irregular and less than full-time minimum wage.
One spring day in 2017, while in a major stall of non-working or education-related activities, Amenta received an email from her mother about NPower, a strong national nonprofit offering free technology training for underserved communities, coming to Saint-Louis and recruiting interns. In March 2017, World Wide Technology (WWT), a member of the Regional Business Council and collaborating partner of STL.works, helped bring NPower to the campuses of Harris-Stowe State University and later to St. Louis Community College for a accessible training in cloud computing, cybersecurity, coding and more, as a quick alternative to tech jobs with Fortune 500 companies committed to diversity.
The St. Louis Regional Business Council (RBC), made up of over 100 companies like AT&T and WWT, was also very committed to this cause.
âThere are thousands of tech jobs in St. Louis that require tech skills, but not necessarily a four-year degree,â said Kathy Osborn, President and CEO of RBC. âRBC is happy to be a funder of NPower because it finds young people who have potential, but who need resources, opportunities and training to have successful jobs.
âI procrastinated for a week or two and waited three or four days before the deadline to complete the application. I walked in and excelled. Math, science and technology is me, âAmenta said.
Within three months, she completed the course, was the opening speaker for the 2nd cohort of graduates, and started a paid NPower internship earning $ 17 an hour at Zero Day Technology Solutions, a turnkey IT solutions organization. focused on effective network architecture as a proud member of the Keeley Companies.
In 2019, after mastering many technical skills from the NPower course and two years of professional experience in technology, she achieved the Comp Tia A + certification, one of the many industry-recognized credentials (IRC) for a technology position. bridge with excellent salaries. NPower then created an advanced alumni safety training program. Amenta took the initiative to work full time during the day and attend evening classes from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for 12 weeks to earn her second IRC, Security +.
With her experience and this second certification, Amenta gained the confidence and credibility to seek a position in a Fortune 500 company with higher earning potential. âI applied for a few positions on my own outside of the NPower program and didn’t get a lot of calls. But when NPower sent my resume directly to WWT in December 2020, I got an interview the next day and got hired the same day. So I can definitely say that NPower will help you get your foot in the door and provide you with opportunities that would be much more difficult for you to obtain, âAmenta added. Today, she has seven months of paid employment with WWT, one of the 100 Best Companies to Work forÂ® in 2021 for the 10th consecutive year by Great Place to WorkÂ® and Fortune.
Amenta pays off old school debts, completes a third network IRC, and earns more than the starting salary of many with a four-year degree. She has the potential to earn well over $ 80,000 in cybersecurity. This is the power of NPower.
Wendell Covington, regional executive director of NPower Missouri, shared that 60 NPower students graduated in the latest 2021 cohort during the COVID-19 pandemic with at least two cohorts per year.
âWe have had nearly 600 interns since 2017. We are moving towards 150 interns this year. We have an IRC certification rate of 76%, a retention rate of 90% in 2021 and a placement rate of 74% in spring 2021. WWT, AT&T, MasterCard, Accenture are some of our main partners who are hiring NPower graduates with cumulative credentials in technology fundamentals, cloud computing, software development and cybersecurity, âsaid Covington.
NPower is actively recruiting for the next cohort of interns. âIt’s an opportunity to build bridges and change lives. We have an ambitious goal of reaching 1,000 graduates by 2024, âsaid Covington. âSo we need more business partners. We want more participants. NPower is a proud collaborating partner of STL.works, helping to increase our tech-skilled workforce.
âThe best advice I can give is to start. To start. You have to make movement to see movement, âimplored Amenta. âIf you’re going to say it, then do it. Don’t just talk about it, actually move forward on it. Start something and put something in motion.