After more than 20 years of being a viable career option for many booger-eating, geeky, social outcasts, the professionals who have chosen to work in the field of Information Technology are now as much of a unemployed commodity as their engineering brethren. Michigan is perhaps hit hardest by recent economic times, but a new state funded program is designed to assist them in finding new careers.
Dubbed the "Formal Interpersonal Social Training" program or F.I.S.T., the Michigan Unemployment Office is conducting new weekly training programs for these recently unemployed. Targeted at building social networking and interpersonal skills, the F.I.S.T. program prepares students who are looking for new careers in the growing services industry. Sheeza Kluliss-Behotch, Michigan Director for the new program, says that all dweebs, geeks, spazzes and trolls are welcome into the program.
"We are even partnering with the professional associations these people belong to", Kluliss-Behotch says. "One example is the Association of System Specialists. We're trying to get as much F.I.S.T. into A.S.S. members as humanly possible. There may be some pain and discomfort along the way, but its all part of the program."
Reporters sat in on one training session to witness some of the interpersonal "Sales" training. The students were becoming proficient with phrases like, "Yes, we paint both interior and exteriors", or "Would you like us to fertilize your lawn in addition to your weekly cut?" or the most common, "Would you like to supersize those fries?"
Clean refrigerator boxes are also provided to all those who complete the training. Kluliss-Behotch says, "We don't just provide career training, we put a roof over their heads too".