Cloud-AI technology, until very recently, was only accessible to leading fortune 500 companies. It is now fast becoming more affordable and thus more attainable to businesses of all sizes. Five years ago, a company would have had to invest millions of dollars in research and development, and maintain a large IT budget to develop custom software to meet their needs. The need for more digital storage, greater and more stable networking capabilities and stronger cyber security gave birth to cloud computing and storage. The need for executives to have real-time numbers led to the creation of dashboards. However, the information provided by dashboards was still historical and present day. Predicting future conditions was still left up to analysts, mostly those experts with a background in statistics. The game-changing event for businesses came when the technology once used solely for marketing purposes was applied to day-to-day businesses. This leap wasn’t instantaneous and it wasn’t limited to managing day-to-day business. It was gradual, but in the context of the evolutionary timeline of technology, it may as well be considered just above a nanosecond. Because technology personnel in many of these large companies saw the potential usefulness of this type of technology, many left and began their own startup companies. Packaging and selling coded software that predicts future events based on historical trends is nothing new. Algorithms created to automatically execute stock trade based on market indicators have been around for some time. Aside from marketing and business applications, the revolution to use this technology for everyday life was hidden in plain sight. Our trusty little, or should I say big, smartphones.
Media Data Network in association with the Community Council of Greater Dallas (CCGD) and REX Programming offers Computer Boot Camps through the Skill Quest Project to educate from poverty to success.
- Determining priority issues solutions in the human services arena
- Convening partners to significantly impact service delivery
- Increasing awareness of and access to services
Vision Statement – The Community Council is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life enabling each individual to achieve his or her full potential. Strategic Goals Lead High Priority Issues:
- Serve as a neutral convener
- Conduct research into emergency and current issues
- Provide advocacy on issues within the Council’s mission
History – Since its founding in 1940, the Community Council has identified services that are needed in the community, assessed how best services could be delivered to meet social issues, and mobilized and implemented action plans working in concert with its member agencies and public sector resources. Pervasive issues over time have included juvenile delinquency and welfare; seniors; public health; daycare; and legislative advocacy. The Community Council met these challenges through fact-based research, deploying volunteers, incubating new services and agencies, expanding government programs where appropriate, convening collaborative work and delivering selected direct services. The Community Council’s research and action plans have resulted in the incubation and birth of new social services.
Skill QUEST is now a program based at Community Council, under a two-year incubation agreement. All Skill QUEST employees are now W-2 employees at Community Council. Media Data Network is the facilitator and technology provider for the Skill Quest of Nevada arm of this project.
The goal of Skill QUEST is to create a ladder for low-to-moderate-income adults living in Dallas, Collin, and contiguous counties to jobs paying a family living wage with benefits and a career path, while providing local employers with a highly skilled workforce ready to work. Launched in 2012, Skill QUEST completed and placed 224 participants in jobs, from inception through July 2017.
The Need – An overwhelming number of unemployed and underemployed residents at the same time a pervasive need for middle-skill workers exists. While Dallas thrives among the top three U.S. Metro areas for business expansion and employment growth, it has one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the nation. In September 2017, the Mayor’s Task Force on Poverty in Dallas released updated numbers, indicating that over half of Dallas households make less than $50,000 per year. The poverty rate has increased by 22% while total population only increased by 9.7%.
Many of these residents lack the basic academic and job-readiness skills required to start a middle-skill career ladder, excluding them from DFW’s economic growth. According to JPMorgan Chase’s Skills Gap Report, there are currently 960,000 middle-skill jobs in the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) region, representing about 42,000 openings per year, or 29% of all positions. Middle-skill positions pay an average median hourly wage of $24.47, 35% higher than the region’s living wage of $18.08.
The Solution – By lifting unemployed and underemployed from poverty via education and services tailored to each student’s circumstances, Skill QUEST provides low-income workers with the determination to succeed. As a workforce intermediary, Skill QUEST enables participants to obtain the skills, certifications, training, tools and supplies to move into family-living wage roles–benefits and career path.