Low-income Calgarians looking to get a leg up on the job market, who don’t have enough money for in-demand job training tuition, now have another option from Momentum.
The non-profit has introduced what they believe is a first for a non-profit in Canada: an income-share program that allows students to defer the costs of tuition until after they’ve begun working successfully—all for as little as $500 upfront to train as an IT support specialist.
Although income-share agreements have been in place in Canada for more than a half-decade at institutions, Momentum said their program differed in both goals and scope from other institutions.
“Our interest… is twofold. One is to diversify our revenue for our employment skills, training programs, and then two is to offer training that can lead to a job and still be affordable, without the same level of government funding,” said Jeff Loomis, executive director for Momentum.
He said that the agreements were based on the idea that participant success post-graduation would lead to funding revenue for their training program.
“It’s an approach to tech training that keeps the offering very affordable for people and is committed to people being able to get a good job in the field of tech,” Loomis said.
The tech training that Momentum provides, said Loomis, has already allowed graduates to land better jobs.
“We know our tech training works. The AWS reStart Program for women, a graduate of that, she was a younger person who had graduated from university but had no job prospects. She was stuck in low-paying retail jobs,” Loomis said.
“Then she took one of our tech training programs, and because we work with industry, she got a job placement. And that that employer hired her after graduation.”
How the income-share agreement works
He said that currently, for the IT Support Specialist Certificate Program, successful applicants would pay $500 towards enrolment, with an additional $7,000 being provided by Momentum towards the cost of the full tuition of $13,850.
The remainder of tuition after the subsidies would be $6,850, which would then be covered by the income-share agreement.
“They pay the balance of that tuition in monthly instalments, once they secure full-time employment. And no interest is charged for the student while they are looking for work and until they get that job,” he said.
Momentum has already signed up several students under the program, and applications are currently open for more for the June 12 start for the IT Support Specialist Certificate Program.
The program lasts five months (20 weeks), and offers students four technical certifications including CompTIA A+, MS 365 Fundamentals, MS Security, Compliance and Identity Fundamentals, and MS Azure Fundamentals, soft-skills for the workplace, and an eight-week work experience practicum with a partner company.
For more details on the program, program eligibility, and how to apply, see momentum.org/programs/it-support-specialist.
Momentum looking at expanding program offerings if income share is successful
Loomis said that this type of program also makes it more predictable for Momentum to provide programs, as they would be less reliant on government funding.
“We’ve had a very, very high demand for tech training programs. Our tech training programs in the past that were totally free, because they were government-funded programs,” he said.
“With this new innovative model, where we’re not using as many government-funded programs, that’s where we are trying to keep the tuition costs for the student as low as possible.”
He said that if successful Momentum would look at expanding the income-share agreement option to other tech programs beyond IT support specialist training.
“Once we test out the model, it could be offered for different forms of tech training in the future.”