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New Career Pathway Program Trains Underserved Local Residents for UC Davis Tech Jobs

As the second largest employer in the region, UC Davis has approximately 25,000 employees, including about 1,800 IT-related positions. In the past few years, the vacancy rates for these technical jobs reached as high as 30%. Recognizing the demand in this field will continue to increase, UC Davis Human Resources and Continuing and Professional Education recently collaborated in forming the Tech Talent Pathway program to develop technical skills and provide jobs for residents in Sacramento’s most diverse and underserved communities.

The newly developed Service Desk Analyst Pathway is the most recent addition to the Tech Talent Pathway program. Partners include UC Davis, the Greater Sacramento Urban League and La Familia Counseling Center. UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) is leading the pilot program, which officially kicks off later this month. The Service Desk Analyst Pathway pilot provides 12 weeks of online training followed by a five-month, paid temporary position as a service desk analyst at UC Davis Information and Educational Technology (IET). Participants will develop the knowledge, skills and professional experience needed to succeed in a high-demand field. La Familia and Greater Sacramento Urban League will select 10 participants who will also receive career counseling and support throughout the program.

“One of our steadfast goals is to provide Black and other underserved populations with job opportunities to gain meaningful employment for career advancement,” said Dwayne Crenshaw, president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Urban League. “When the Urban League learned that UC Davis would be expanding its presence in one of the communities in which we serve and where we’re located, we wanted to work with the university to bring local talent to UC Davis’ Sacramento campus and Aggie Square.”

The Tech Talent Pathway program will:

  • Create high demand career paths for community members
  • Increase diversity at UC Davis
  • Fill critical IT roles on campus
  • Establish new opportunities with community partners

“When we formed the partnership, we aligned on the importance of participants emerging from the program able to get good-paying jobs that allow them to change their economic status and enrich their community,” said Alex Lowrie, director of strategic partnerships at CPE. “Every step of the way, we aim to develop participants' capabilities and prospects. Throughout the operation, we want to collaborate effectively and openly as a group of organizations working to make a difference in Sacramento.”

According to Sonja Colbert, chief operating officer for UC Davis IET and Aggie Square team member, “As part of the Tech Talent Pathways collaboration, the Service Desk Analyst pilot will provide a foundation and create a model for pathways to future technology jobs, including here at UC Davis.”

The pilot program will prepare participants for a career as a service desk analyst by providing technical skills and experience, including:

  • Independently researching, planning, testing, documenting and resolving technical incidents and requests
  • Explaining complex technical concepts, terms and material to non-technical clients
  • Providing technical support for various desktop and mobile applications, (e.g., Google apps and other similar services) and supporting Microsoft Windows and Mac operating systems

“This is an amazing opportunity to provide education and job training to our community members to enter these technological career pathways,” said La Familia Counseling Center executive director, Rachel Rios. “We wanted to ensure that communities of color and local residents from the area are well represented in the new career pathways and the opportunities being developed through this project.”

“In the long term,” Crenshaw said, “We are confident this program model can be replicated across the various offices and units at UC Davis to meet its diverse workforce needs through the recruitment, training and job placement of residents in the communities we serve.”


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