Tony Giovaniello, president of the Shasta Economic Development Corporation, has been trying to solve a problem: many businesses cannot grow as rapidly as they’d like, due to developing talent gap. Traditional technology training methods are not turning out new additions to the workforce at a rate that meets the demand. This has prevented the local economy from growing as quickly as it could.
Enter Cloud Wise Academy. The academy, incubated by the Shasta EDC, offers six-week training courses aimed at teaching real-world skills and kickstarting technology careers for graduates. “The success of Cloud Wise Academy has been not only the ability to train students, but the ability to connect that training with jobs,” Tony says. “That has been a focus of the Academy from the start. As long as it continues to maintain that focus, I think it will continue to be successful.”
Already several students of the Cloud Wise Academy have found new jobs in technology, including this writer. As Tony says, the ramifications of its work are potentially massive, not just on an individual level, but for the community as a whole.
The search for technology training: the background of Cloud Wise Academy
The Shasta Economic Development Corporation, or Shasta EDC, is a public-private partnership funded by county of Shasta and the cities of Anderson, Shasta Lake, and Redding, as well as approximately 40 corporations. As Tony describes it, the goal of Shasta EDC is to “help grow the economy and create jobs specifically in manufacturing and technology. Our goal is to recruit, retain, and expand companies in the area. It’s also to help startups, especially in technology, emerge and create a new economy.”
For many years, the Shasta EDC has been trying to entice more businesses to come to the Shasta area, but the lack of a State University has raised some questions about the availability in our area. Tony explains, “When looking at many technology companies that exist right now, many are software as a service (SaaS) companies. Their biggest resource is human capital. They don’t have a lot of property plans and equipment. So, if there isn’t an abundance of human capital, there’s nothing holding them to the area, other than life style choice. If we want them to stay and grow in the area, we need to make sure they have a skilled workforce to draw upon.”
That spurred Shasta EDC to identify the opportunity for a high-velocity training platform. Cloud Wise Academy was born to serve this emerging need. It offers jobs-oriented training courses in web development and other technological fields. Since its first class, Websites for Beginners, started in July, the academy has been rapidly expanding its selection of courses, to WordPress classes for employees and even one-on-one SEO marketing workshops for business owners.
“We based the model on a very successful academy in Fresno called ‘Geek Wise Academy,’” recalls Tony. “It looked like a great program, but you can never depend on something that works well in one area working well in another. Every place is different. Cloud Wise Academy is an adapted version that works well for our area. And the initial indications are that it’s going to fulfill all the goals and objectives that we had.”
What does a prosperous Redding look like?
“A prosperous Shasta County, with a vibrant technological community, branded outside the area as a place with an abundance of skilled workers, is a powerful message! These talent gaps exist in many places. If we find a way to successfully fill those gaps, businesses that want to expand will relocate here.” Tony says, “Including companies that are not technology-based. A growth-oriented, vibrant, and creative startup community, is also attractive to traditional manufacturing businesses. They also need to inject technology into their businesses to grow their revenues and be more efficient.”
Furthermore, he points out, there’s no reason that Cloud Wise Academy should only limit itself to classes in technology. “Courses are being developed and offered for training in sales, project management, and program management. There are a whole host of opportunities that become available because the Cloud Wise Academy model is working. An availability of talented and experienced instructors makes this model sustainable.”
Though Cloud Wise Academy is still in its early stages, Tony is optimistic. “The skills taught and learned at the Academy are literally changing people’s lives. Some of the students needed a new path or new hope. Probably the most invigorating part of all of this is how much that has become a reality for the people attending Cloud Wise Academy courses. It’s energizing for a lot of reasons.”
Currently, graduates of the first Cloud Wise Academy course are delving into the second Cloud Wise module, Advanced Web Development–Learning the WordPress Ecosystem.
On October 12th, the second Websites for Beginners course starts. This is another six-week session of Cloud Wise Academy’s first course, taught by the same popular instructor, Nathan Noble. These courses take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, for the convenience of those already working or taking care of a family. Classes are held at the Shasta Venture Hub, located at 4300 Caterpillar Road in Redding. Scholarships are available.
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Cloud Wise Academy
4300 Caterpillar Road
Redding, CA 96003
Joe Mckenna, CEO, Cloud Wise Academy
Shasta Venture Hub
Economic Development Corporation of Shasta County
4300 Caterpillar RoadRedding, CA 96003
Tony Giovaniello, President, Shasta EDC