Learn & Earn making a difference: Virginia based IT company committed to remote working in West Virginia
From WV News: https://www.wvnews.com/news/wv...
CHARLESTON — Ntiva, an IT company based out of Virginia, has been promoting the idea of remote working for longer than a decade, and has remained committed to hiring West Virginia natives.
Ben Martin, the director of remote operations for Ntiva, said that, while the COVID-19 pandemic has opened many businesses to the idea of remote working, it’s something his company has been practicing for almost 15 years, with many of the hires being made out of — and staying in —West Virginia despite many of the company’s clients being in areas such as Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York City.
“We actively are going all in on building a remote workforce in West Virginia, because we love the workforce,” Martin said. “We’re getting amazing IT talent and great cultural fit. … We were all in before COVID. We’re adopting a model now where we’re going to roll out more flexible work arrangements for workers all over the place.”
Martin said that while remote working is helpful in 2020 to help slow the spread of the pandemic, there are myriad other benefits to take into consideration, as well.
“There are so many advantages to the company, the team members and the community as a whole,” Martin said. “For the team members, you get a better quality of life. If you’re not in one of these cities, you don’t have to spend an hour and a half commuting each way. You don’t spend a ton of money in gas or commute. As a team member, you have so much more salary in your pocket, and you don’t have the danger and frustration of a crazy commute.”
He added that remote working reduces one’s carbon footprint, creating a boon for the environment, as well.
Martin said that another important goal of the company is to get college students interested in working on IT with Ntiva, which led to the “Ntiva Service Desk Academy.”
Last year, Ntiva partnered with West Virginia University at Parkersburg to create the service desk, a concept that set out to give students real world experience through internships at the company, all while never having to leave the school’s campus.
“It’s a fully functional IT service desk team and department where students can take their classes and then, in the same building, work hand in hand with their colleagues, and they’re getting real world experience working with our live clients on live issues,” Martin said. “It’s not a theoretical thing. They’re literally applying day-to-day what they’re learning in class and learning from our full-time team members. ...
“When they graduate, not only do they have their degree, but they can also put on their resumes that they worked for a year as a service desk technician with one of the leading MSPs in the country. I think that gives them such a huge leg up, not only in West Virginia, but across the country.”
Josh Strahler, Ntiva’s senior service desk manager, was one of the first students at WVU Parkersburg to take advantage of Ntiva’s partnership with his schools in 2010. He’s been with the company since graduation, and helped establish the service desk at the school.
“Just in the first year, out students came back to us and were blown away with being able to tangibly associate things that they were learning in class with and issue they were working on that same day,” Strahler said. “The marrying of those two things have been instrumental.”
Martin said Ntiva works with these students well after graduation, as well.
“Once those students graduate, we offer them a full-time job, and then we help them plan a career path … up through the service desk,” Martin said. “The idea is picking your career path, and we’ll help you get there.”
Strahler said one of his goals is to reach out to other institutions in the state to implement similar service desks, expanding Ntiva’s “talent engine” to encompass all of West Virginia.
“We really want to expand this and go beyond WVU Parkersburg,” Strahler said. “They’ve been a great partner, but they’re just one part of West Virginia. We’d like to eventually go throughout the rest of the state and find other community colleges to tap into and really replicate the program across the state.”
Currently, Ntiva has about 25 team members working throughout the state, and while currently there are only four interns in the WVU Parkersburg service desk at a time, Martin hopes to boost that number up to eight, and then 12, in the near future.
While not many of Ntiva’s clients are in Wests Virginia, Martin said the company is committed to keeping its remote workers there, and he hopes that, with the pandemic now forcing other companies to see the benefits of remote working, the concept will remain popular long after the pandemic ends.
He also wants to accentuate the strength of West Virginia’s workforce, and hopes Ntiva can be a driving force in promoting technology careers throughout the state.
“We want to create a model where employers like Ntiva can engage students while they’re still in high school and help them put together an education and career path that’s sort of like what we wish somebody would have done for us,” Martin said. “There are so many resources that are available. West Virginia is a wonderful example. There are amazing resources across the state, but there’s nobody to guide them through it."
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