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Timmins Business Benefits as Student Explores IT Field

 

Lucid Networks Corp., a Timmins information technology (IT) company, might be better prepared to meet a projected need for workers in the IT field in the coming years, thanks in part to its mentorship of a young man who has an intellectual disability this past summer. Lucid Networks IT service manager Ted Gooch agreed to take on mentoring Theriault High School student Sam Migneault after he was approached by Cristy Webb, a co-ordinator with the Passport Mentoring Initiative in Timmins.

 

The Passport Mentoring initiative involves students who have an intellectual disability investigating ideas for their future, by working with mentors who share the same interest or hold the role that the student wishes to explore.
Gooch, who returned to school at 36 to study IT after leaving a job in automobile repairs, says he was very interested in providing leadership to Migneault, who is obviously keen about the field. “There’s going to be a great need in this field in the next few years, so I thought it was a great idea to get somebody who is younger involved and find out if it’s something they want to do, after getting their feet wet,” says Gooch. Gooch met with Migneault one hour a week for about eight weeks, providing him with in-depth and hands-on learning about things such as the difference between Macs and PCs, fixing a router and creating an Internet cable. Webb, who checked in frequently, says she was amazed by what Migneault learned, noting part of his learning involved taking apart an old computer of hers, fixing it and putting it back together. Webb suggests the one-to-one teaching and support from a committed business person was invaluable, as compared to taking a computer class or even doing a placement.



Sam IT

Gooch says he was also very encouraged by the leaps Migneault took in learning. He’s since been very forthright in encouraging Migneault to look into college courses that can help him along the way into a career in IT. Migneault says he is interested in doing this, noting he enjoyed the whole experience and found Gooch “fun to work with.” But while Lucid Networks was educating Migneault and likely strengthening the IT workforce of the future, it was also educating and preparing itself, according to Gooch. Like many people, Migneault has unique needs requiring unique leadership skills, Gooch notes. “It was a great opportunity for me to learn best practices on how to provide that leadership for him, to make him feel more comfortable in our environment,” says Gooch. If the IT field does face a worker shortage as is projected, companies that are prepared to work with people who have the IT skills but may require additional unique support will likely have the edge. Lucid Networks appears to be on its way in that respect.

By Michelle Strutzenberger