Fueled by a number of factors, including a global pandemic, data analytics skills are in high-demand.
Organizations like the Youth Employment Services (YES) are well aware of the abundance of data and its growing complexity. That's why they partnered with SAS last year to provide free learning pathways to help young people gain accreditations in SAS.
Over the past 18 months, YES expanded its support to include greater access to laptops and tablets. Additional funding helped cover Wi-Fi costs as well, which led to a unique opportunity.
"Thanks to partners like SAS, we're able to provide free access to incredible online courses that allow youth to gain in-demand skills such as SAS Programming and SAS Statistics," said Timothy Lang, President, and Chief Executive Officer at YES.
YES is a national organization and helps young Canadians with employment training, programming and job placements. It also has a strong track record of working with other major software companies, according to Mark Morreale, a Senior Global Academic Program Coordinator at SAS.
Combine that with its focus on serving disadvantaged youth and other communities, and it's no wonder that YES quickly became a partner of choice for SAS.
"This was a major gap for both our academic and commercial education programs at SAS," said Morreale. "Existing programs focused on youth in school or who were working. They were not designed to help disadvantaged youth and other communities, and working with YES helped us change that."
Working their way up
In 2020, YES had nine students complete SAS courses. Six of them completed Programming 1, one student completed Programming 2 and two more completed Statistics 1. This year, five students at YES are planning to take SAS courses in the coming months.
Namita Chhabra, one of the training program participants learning SAS, expects to take the Base Specialist Exam by October 2021.
"I'm very grateful to be a part of the Yes2Cloud Program and have the opportunity to learn SAS. It's extremely relevant in my field (data analytics and statistics), and I cannot financially afford to learn it myself," she explained.
SAS certification is an industry standard. There are more than 1,000 SAS customers in Canada, and many of them are large organizations with internal teams focused exclusively on SAS.
People who complete the Base Specialist Exam can also find opportunities at SAS partner organizations. Other opportunities are available through part-time consulting work.
Some clients working with YES want to learn about SAS syntax and how to explore and access data sets. Others, Lang indicated, want to learn more about filtering rows and columns. YES ensures that students learn data management and statistical concepts that help them find work with non-SAS customers as well.
Certified program graduates can connect with the SAS Academic Program and its user groups. They can also network with SAS Communities to uncover job listings, networking events and more across Canada.
Morreale says employers are actively searching for data analytics talent. "I just made 10 referrals yesterday as fall hiring is ramping up."