Roberto Solis Rodriguez had the ideal situation—he scored a paid internship while in school and the company where he interned liked him so much he got hired on full time at the end of his internship, before he even completed his education.
Though this does happen to a select few, what’s unique about this scenario is that the wages of up to 150 hours of Solis Rodriguez’s internship were subsidized by the San Diego Workforce Partnership as part of TechHire San Diego, the local chapter of a nationwide movement that aims to level the playing field for tech jobs by matching up training and employment opportunities with information and communication technologies job seekers from underrepresented backgrounds.
The participating TechHire employer that hired Solis Rodriguez, HoverCam, is an educational technology leader specializing in interactive products such as digital podiums and smart panels for over 300,000 school and university classrooms across the world.
Since September of 2017, Solis Rodriguez has been a technical support engineer offering customer service and assistance with installations. He’s even had the opportunity to tour with HoverCam doing product demos across Southern California.
“I was impressed with how quickly Roberto jumped in with all the tasks we assigned to him,” said Technical Support Manager Keith White, Solis Rodriguez’s supervisor. “He has gotten compliments on how great of a tech he’s been and on his phone demeanor. He’s also been able to interject with his own ideas. That’s what we want in a tech—not just a robot that can fix something, but someone who can bring other ideas.”
“We burned through Roberto’s 150 hours pretty quickly,” said HoverCam’s Marketing & Media Relations Manager Jaime Falcón. “We were constantly finding things for him to do because we were impressed by him. We saw that he was trainable.”
“AND he can take a joke,” White added. “We prank each other once in a while. He knows how to have fun and get things done at the same time.”
So why hire through TechHire?
“At first, we were looking for just marketing interns—people with nontraditional backgrounds, and initially getting only résumés from prestigious schools,” said Falcón. “But we are not blown away by résumés. Anybody can write anything and say, ‘I did this, and I did that.’ We believe in actual proof.”
Through the internship interview process, the team learned that those who came from less prestigious educational backgrounds often worked harder and turned in test projects more quickly.
As for why Solis Rodriguez chose to intern with HoverCam, he is impressed with the company’s dedication to bringing the concept of the 21st century classroom to life, an idea that has been around since 1999, but to date has yet to become a widespread reality.
“I wanted to learn more about working with cameras and computers,” said Solis Rodriguez. “Working at HoverCam lets me combine my interests.”
“There are children born in 2000 about to graduate from high school who never had that promise fulfilled for them. It is our goal to fulfill that promise and actualize the concept of a fully digital classroom,” said Falcón. “Roberto has had a great rapport to service our products, which have a direct impact on the world; we are providing technology and tools to educators, and educators are the front lines to changing the world. If you can spark one mind, that mind can change the world, so why not spark as many minds as possible?”
“I love what they do here,” said Solis Rodriguez. “I love learning troubleshooting, about products and purpose.”