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Professional Advancement Through Hands-On Skills (PATHS) Program Welcomes First Cohort of Salesforce Trainees

By March 18, 2024Press Release

The PATHS Program is being offered at Villa Maria College, in partnership with The KORP Foundation, the City of Buffalo, Red Argyle, and Salesforce 

Villa Maria College, in partnership with the KORP Foundation, has announced the launch of its PATHS Program. The PATHS Program, or Professional Advancement Through Hands-On Skills, prepares adults to begin a career in the local technology sector.  

“The PATHS Program was designed to reshape the workforce development scene in Buffalo, New York,” said Christopher “CJ” Banks, Special Assistant to the President at Villa Maria College and Founder/President of the KORP Foundation. “It starts with certification training, but it doesn’t stop there. Upon achieving their certification, graduates of the program are placed into a paid apprenticeship or a job. Plus, when our participants obtain their certification, they receive 6 college credits from Villa Maria College, opening up an opportunity for them to obtain a college degree.” 

A participant-focused model with integrated case management at its core, the PATHS Program aims to address the individual needs of its participants as it prepares them for work. 

“The PATHS program understands that each person has unique needs, challenges, and career aspirations,” continued Banks. “Hence, PATHS offers personalized guidance and resources to assist participants in navigating these challenges and achieving their career goals. This includes lending out laptops to participants for free, pairing them with a personal success advisor, connecting them to community resources, and more. Combined, all these aspects prepare individuals for sustainable career paths that align with their skills and interests as well as the evolving demands of the tech industry.” 

While the program is focused on individual development, networking and collaboration are at its core. Villa Maria and KORP are also working with Red Argyle, a leading local Salesforce consulting and development firm. 

Graduates of the PATHS Program will have the opportunity to interview for paid apprenticeships at Red Argyle, with additional opportunities for full-time employment once their training has been completed. Villa Maria and the KORP Foundation will continue to work on job placement with anyone who is not selected for an apprenticeship.  

“Red Argyle will hire four PATHS graduates from the current cohort for a year-long apprenticeship to work on real-world Salesforce projects alongside our team of Salesforce experts, said Tom Patros, Owner of Red Argyle. “I’ve been supporting the program’s weekly evening class sessions, and I am so impressed with the energy that KORP is bringing to the students, and the level of commitment that the students have to earn their Salesforce Associate and Administrator credentials.”

The first cohort has just completed their training to become Salesforce Associates, with some members of the class electing to continue training to become a Salesforce Administrator. The program ran approximately 16 weeks, with the first 4 weeks being conducted entirely remotely. Participants were then able to continue remotely or could choose to complete the rest of the course in person on Villa Maria’s centrally located campus.  

The first cohort achieved a high level of success, with 80% of participants completing training and passing the certification exam on their first attempt. First-time exam costs are generously sponsored by Salesforce and Red Argyle. 

“I implore other employers to take that brave step of hiring PATHS program graduates into Salesforce roles in their organization,” said Patros. “When local companies take a “chance” on hiring local talent, everyone wins.” 

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