The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development has extended its partnership with CompTIA through 2021.One of the world’s largest nonprofit trade associations; CompTIA provides in-demand, on-demand information technology training to displaced workers in Missouri. In September, the Missouri Office of Workforce Development, in collaboration with the Local Workforce Development Boards, directed CARES Act funding to offer training to Missourians looking to skill up and get back to work. Registration for the training programs was originally slated to end on Dec. 4, 2020, but that deadline has been extended through 2021 using Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding. Those who complete the CompTIA training will receive professional certification in one of three programs: CompTIA A+ (Information Technology), CompTIA Security+ (Cybersecurity) or CompTIA Project+ (Project Management).In order to help the state of Missouri recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, CompTIA will deliver these three unique, mentored-learning training programs in a flexible and streamlined process, which can be completed in as few as eight weeks. CompTIA trains students with little-to-no information technology or project management experience and helps them develop the technical and soft skills to launch their IT careers. Offering both entry and advanced level IT and project management trainings, these programs are offered completely online, and at each student’s own pace. CompTIA will provide virtual mentorship and resources to help ensure success and completion of the programs.Information Technology jobs are some of the most in-demand in Missouri. Computer occupations are projected to grow 13 percent over the next decade. According to the Cyberstates™ 2020 report, the U.S. technology industry has added an estimated 1.9 million new jobs over the past decade. The tech sector accounts for approximately 10 percent of the total U.S. economy, making it one of the largest industries.To be eligible for free CompTIA training, applicants must be over 18 years old, and have been laid off or furloughed because of COVID-19.Those interested must qualify for Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) funding, and may be asked to take two assessments through their local Missouri Job Center to see if they are eligible. Applications for enrollment in CompTIA training will be accepted through June 30, 2021. For more information on how to apply for free IT training with CompTIA, visit jobs.mo.gov/returnstrong.