Josie Robinson used to be a high level Nortel administrator. Two years after her second layoff, she is still in the same boat as countless other unemployed or underemployed IT workers.
"Trying to survive, trying to keep your skills going because that's the name of the game to keep your skills current and do what the employers want to see," she said.
Robinson and more than 300 others looking for IT work are at
this week. The program is a 4-day training conference that might normally cost $3,000 per person. Donated facilities, manuals, equipment and instructors cut the cost to $95.
Mike Gurkin, who is attending the conference, believes the idea will catch on.
"I think it will at least help some of us who attended Tech Engage to get back into the workforce a little quicker," he said.
Meanwhile, attendees are encouraged to pay for the opportunity by donating their skills to local charities, which Robinson believes would be a good deal.
"I wanted the opportunity to go back into the community and to volunteer and do whatever I could to give back," she said.
Warren Fuson, executive director of Tech Engage, said the conference is the first of what he hopes will be more low-cost training conferences, not just in the Triangle but across the country.