Rosie Project aimed at training military spouses for IT careersFeb 27, 2023 09:52AM ● By Becky Ginos
Weber State University and HAFB are partnering for the training program. Photos courtesy of WSU.
HILL AIR FORCE BASE—Named for Rosie the Riveter who represented women that went to work to support the war effort during World War II, the Rosie Project is meant to bring out the modern day version of those military spouses as they are supporting the warfighter. The program is a partnership between Weber State University and Hill Air Force Base to train military spouses for IT careers.
“It can be hard for a spouse to get a job off base,” said Aniza Brown, executive director of Catalyst Campus, Ogden. “If they give an address on base sometimes they’re not hired because they know they won’t be staying. Or their husband is deployed but they want a divorce so the wife and kids are moved off base. They’re overlooked quite a bit.”
The tuition-free information technology program gives active duty military spouses the skills they need to be qualified to work with the Department of Defense at whatever base they’re stationed at.
“They come to class once a week in person and then do the rest of the coursework online at home on their own time,” said Beth Rhoades, executive director of programs for WSU’s Division of Online and Continuing Education. “They have instruction and discussion then they’re sent off on their own.”
Child care and food is provided, she said. “We want to remove those barriers. We also give them a laptop to borrow throughout the program if they don’t have the ability for that at home. We teach them how to use it. They don’t have to have any knowledge of anything. We start at ground zero.”
The sequence is five and a half months long and has about 20 people in each cohort. “The cohort system teaches students to collaborate with each other,” said Rhoades. “It creates a family as they meet each week and as they work through things in class. It teaches ownership of learning and a feeling of connection so that all military spouses can progress in learning.”
They have the potential to earn up to three industry certifications that qualify them to get a level 2210 position within the DOD, she said. “This will give them the opportunity for positions around the globe as they get moved. It gives them the skills to find another government position at whatever base they’re transferred to.”
The program is taught by WSU School of Computing faculty and the first cohort starts Feb. 28 with the second starting in September. It is for both past and present military spouses that include both men and women.
“We give them all the resources they need to pass the Security+ exam,” said Brown. We also bring in IT professors at Hill who talk about what it’s like working there so they learn on the job as well.”
The Rosies came together, she said. “They helped each other with child care, washing, etc. and said ‘lean on us to make sure you’re successful.’ We’re creating the same thing here.”
Rosie the Riveter was the motivation and inspiration for women, said Rhoades. “This is our current call – we need them. It’s their time to shine and grow.”