Podcasts

Providing Technology Training for Minorities with Nilda Thomas, Workforce eTraining Solutions

By February 4, 2021
Nilda Thomas

Nilda ThomasNilda Thomas is the Founder and CEO of Workforce eTraining Solutions, formally known as International Forensics eLearning Academy, a distributor of web and cloud-based learning technologies and curated content. Nilda established Workforce eTraining Solutions with a vision of providing access to online technology training to minorities: women, youth, displaced workers, veterans, and underserved communities.

Nilda is a business leader committed to learning innovation and technology. She spent more than 20 years sharpening her expertise at technology giants like Deloitte, Microsoft, AT&T, and other Fortune 500 companies before starting Workforce eTraining Solutions. She holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Nilda’s experience working in the tech industry as a minority and what she learned
  • Nilda talks about creating her first online training business
  • How technological resources can be used to gear training and education to minorities
  • The core messaging behind Nilda’s work
  • Challenges caused by shifts to online learning and the mistakes trainers are making
  • How Nilda helps teachers gain technical training
  • How to get in touch with Nilda Thomas

In this episode…

Because of the pandemic, many personal trainers, coaches, and training institutions have been forced to start offering online classes to their students. For minority groups, getting decent training on technology can be a challenge. Their positions at work could also be at risk because many employers want technologically-savvy employees.

It just so happens that this is a goal Nilda Thomas has in mind: to help minorities gain technology skills that they can use to either land better employment opportunities or stay competitive in their current jobs. She also educates her clients on soft skills so they can learn how to collaborate with others and experience success in the workplace.

In this week’s episode of the Innovations and Breakthroughs Podcast, Rich Goldstein is joined by Nilda Thomas, the Founder and CEO of Workforce eTraining Solutions, to find out how Nilda helps minorities gain access to technology training. Nilda explains why she started the company, her core messaging, and the common challenges associated with online training.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by Goldstein Patent Law, a firm that helps protect inventors’ ideas and products. They have advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 25 years. So if you’re a company that has a software, product, or design you want protected, you can go to https://goldsteinpatentlaw.com/. They have amazing free resources for learning more about the patent process.

You can email their team at [email protected] to explore if it’s a match to work together. Rich Goldstein has also written a book for the American Bar Association that explains in plain English how patents work, which is called ‘The ABA Consumer Guide to Obtaining a Patent.’


Intro (00:09):
Welcome to innovations and breakthroughs with your host Ritz Goldstein, talking about the evolutionary, the revolutionary, the inspiration and the perspiration and those aha moments that change everything. And now here’s your host, rich Goldstein,

Rich (00:34):
Rich Goldstein here, host of the innovations podcast, where I feature top leaders and the path they took to create change past guests include Rex’s Ari James Thompson and Joe Polish. This episode is brought to you by my company, Goldstein patent law, where we help you to protect your ideas and products we’ve advised and obtained patents for thousands of companies over the past 26 years. So if you’re a company that has software, a product or a design, you want protected go to Goldstein patent law.com, where there are amazing free resources for learning about the patent process. And you could email my [email protected] to explore it’s a match to work together. You can also check out the book that I wrote for the American bar association that explains in plain English, how patents work it’s called the ABA consumer guide to obtaining a patent. I have you today, Neil, the Thomas Nilda is a business leader committed to learning innovation and learning technology. She spent more than 20 years at technology giants, such as Deloitte, Microsoft at and T and M and other fortune 500 companies before starting workforce IE training solutions, which is a distributor of web and cloud-based learning technologies and curated content. Um, no, the established workforce, each training solutions with a vision of providing access to online technology training to minorities, women, youth displaced workers, veterans, and underserved communities. It’s my honor to welcome. Nilda Thomas. Welcome builder.

Nilda (02:01):
Thank you rich for having me.

Rich (02:03):
My pleasure. So, um, so you, you have a high amount of focus on helping underserved communities, minority communities. Um, so tell me about what it was like working in tech as a minority.

Nilda (02:17):
Well, um, as a, as a baby boomer and Afro Latina, a woman in tech, um, you know, I’ve been blessed to work with some technology giants, as you had mentioned from the mid eighties to early two thousands, uh, marketing technology solutions to various industries and government. And, um, while I was there, I often found myself as the only woman of color at my level at these offices. And so, you know, it, it, it, it, um, uh, it was, it was a challenge, uh, because I encountered implicit biases, uh, on many occasions and was told that, you know, I wasn’t a good fit or that I was overqualified to, um, move into a promotion or a new position. And so, um, after 20 years of experience in the workforce, I entered graduate school and earned my MBA in business. And so, um, it was actually at ADSL, uh, where I was on a team that launched the distance learning services group, uh, in the late nineties where I became fascinated with the technology. Uh, and that’s why I marketed, uh, technology solutions to, as I mentioned to industries in government. Um, and so, you know, today actually not much has changed, uh, with only 26% of women in computing related jobs.

Rich (03:30):
Yeah, absolutely. But, and, you know, and, and I think you, you worked at like places like Ford motor company, where I guess it was very much a male culture and, and, and also, uh, I guess a low emphasis on minorities, a low presence of minorities. So, so I guess truly you are a trailblazer in terms of, um, being a minority woman in the setting like that. Um, and, and it sounds like you learned a lot and you learned a lot about what would work, not just for minorities to have success, um, in situations like that, but what would work for companies to have successful, um, relationships and to have, um, have, uh, successful experiences with having minority, um, minorities and having women, um, as part of their team, correct?

Nilda (04:20):
Yes. Yes. And actually back in 2000, I was featured in black enterprise magazine and I was quoted, you know, if we don’t embrace technology as a people, we’re going to be left behind and we need to be afforded the opportunities to take advantage of the way that we learn technology so we can become more marketable in the workforce. And so that was actually the catalyst for me to start my first online training business, which actually was, uh, geared to, uh, first responders. And, uh, and so, you know, fast forward to now, um, I resurrected the, the, the company, uh, to be workforce each winning solutions because everyone needs training.

Rich (05:03):
Hmm. Yeah, they do. And so one of the things that you figured out that really help to, to train, um, you know, people that, that, well, I guess let’s put it this way. Um, if much of the hiring and training solutions were geared towards, um, just let’s say the standard workforce, the nonminority workforce, and what have you learned that kind of helps to gear these, these, um, resources towards, um, minorities? Like, what’s the, like, what are the, the things that source the innovation that you created?

Nilda (05:38):
Well, I believe that, um, you know, you have a lot of, uh, single women, um, mothers, um, uh, even, um, you know, husbands, uh, that have other things that go on into their lives, right? They have children, they have other distractions. And so having to go to an actual facility to take a course, or to sit in class for two or three hours, uh, that that’s a barrier for them. And so with online education, distance learning, uh, they’re able to, um, fit this within their schedule, right. They can take it at their own pace, uh, if they need to, um, take a break and come back to what they can start back up where they left off. So it’s, it’s actually a convenience for, for them, because it’s basically it at anytime, anywhere that you have a wifi connection that you can take the class.

Rich (06:34):
So one of the messages is to make things online, to make them more accessible. And of course, that that’s really poignant right now and, and really appropriate right now. But being that so much has moved online. Uh, I mean, you know, what else, I think a part of the, the core messaging that you seek to get out there. I know you look to get your message out there. Like, what do you see is your message.

Nilda (07:02):
Yeah, I would say that, um, you know, the, uh, with career and technical education, um, you know, the key is to helping, um, minorities and women gain technology skills. Uh, and, and our learning management platform is really poised to help CTE programs, meaning career technical, technical education programs, um, that include, you know, pre-certification courses in it, um, comp Tia, uh, Microsoft and others, but then there’s also those soft skills, right? Because you can still get a job, but you also have to be able to keep that job and you have to be able to collaborate. You have to be able to have those critical thinking skills. You have to be able to be a team player. Uh, there’s also a lot of bullying, you know, in the workforce. And so I have those type of courses as well, that, uh, you know, help people to, uh, be able to, um, be successful, uh, in, in, in, in the, um, in the workplace and that environment.

Rich (08:03):
Got it. So I guess there’s things like leadership and emotional intelligence,

Nilda (08:07):
Exactly leadership, professional development, emotional intelligence, even entrepreneurship. And so, um, you know, while my, while my courses are not only for those companies that want to re-skill and up-skill their workers, especially in this time of COVID where they’ve probably had to, um, you know, furlough some, some of their employees or, or, or downsize. And you have those employees that are left there at the company. They’re not only tech, they’re not only, um, uh, performing their job, but they’re also have taken up more jobs or more tasks that maybe someone else who used to be at the company is no longer there. So they have to learn, right. So this way, my, my courses can, you know, accompany can, can, um, can, uh, um, take my courses or implement my platform to be able to up-skill and re-skill their workforce.

Rich (09:06):
Um, and so like, you know, being that, um, that basically everything has shifted to be online. Um, like now suddenly, um, education, um, in terms of like elementary education, middle school education, high school and colleges are shifting their learning to on to online. Um, but I mean, and, and they vary in terms of how well they’re doing this. So, you know, what are some of the challenges with, um, with shifting traditional education to online, you know, and what, and where are some of the ways that the people trying it are missing?

Nilda (09:48):
Well, I think, um, where they’re missing the boat is that, uh, especially with these schools and, and by the way, uh, when we realized that schools were not going to be reopening, or they were going to do a hybrid model, uh, we decided that we needed to, um, uh, create a, uh, vertical, which we have, which is K-12 virtual solutions. And so, um, you know, with the COVID-19 pandemic, we decided that, um, this would be a subsidiary of workforce training solutions. And we offer in our portfolio some of the most innovative e-learning, uh, in STEM programs, in the K-12 space, because career exploration needs to begin early. And so this way we help schools to integrate the technology into their classrooms and, and, and virtually for a blended learning experience. Um, instantly, you know, we also offer tech consulting services where we assist in developing career pathways and identifying funding sources.

Nilda (10:48):
So to your question, as far as, you know, how are schools and entities missing the boat? I think it’s because they are not enlisting the, um, the services of someone like myself that has that, um, ed tech technology experience that can help them understand what their goals are, understand what their objectives are and make some recommended, um, technologies that can help them achieve their goals, as well as, uh, the teachers, uh, don’t have that, uh, tech technical background or tech technical acumen. Right. And so they’re, uh, needing to be, um, you know, have that professional development and training as well.

Rich (11:35):
And, and so, um, I mean, how are you, um, um, working to train the teachers to have that, um, you know, that technical ability to be a, to, to be an educator in today’s, um, in today’s world?

Nilda (11:50):
Well, uh, any of the, uh, schools or organizations that, um, you know, contract with us, uh, that is something that we provide is that, uh, professional development training, uh, any of the technologies that are, uh, licensed through us, uh, we do provide that professional development, uh, training again, for them to understand and learn how to use, uh, the technology that they’re, um, delivering to their, uh, either staff or their students.

Rich (12:22):
And, um, you know, when speaking of delivering those, those services, especially to minorities and that, that might, uh, you know, need to, to, to use your platform or, or to, um, to gain consulting from you about how to best implement these learning strategies and learning technology. Um, I understand that there’s, there’s a program through the minority business development agency and through the cares act that that, that helps them to kinda utilize your services and to, uh, license some learning technology that they might need to license.

Nilda (13:03):
Yes. Uh, and that’s actually through the NBDA, uh, Baltimore, uh, agency, uh, and they can, if anyone is interested, they can contact me. Uh, and I can definitely put them in touch and understand, you know, what their needs are, put them in touch, and if they qualify, they could, uh, uh, receive up to $2,000 to pay for the platform and any of my services. Great. Yeah.

Rich (13:31):
That’s awesome. And so then, um, um, if people do want to get in touch with you, we’ll learn more about you then, how, um, how do they go about doing so,

Nilda (13:42):
Uh, I am actually, I’m on LinkedIn, uh, Nilda Thomas, or Nilda G Thomas. Uh, they can reach me on LinkedIn. They can reach me via my website, which is, um, HTTPS colon Ford slash forward slash workforce III, training.com. Uh, so there’s two, E’s that the, at the end of workforce and the E in front of training, a lot of people forget that there’s two E’s right there. And so they can meet me. They can reach me through the website as well as my email is Nyla. That’s in like Nancy, I L D [email protected] Awesome. I also have a phone number. The phone number is a +1 800-228-7412. Great,

Rich (14:32):
Thanks so much. And, and, uh, I appreciate what you’re doing for innovating, um, innovating education, innovating education technology for, um, serving minorities and helping kind of create those bridges that, that really help minorities to get trained and for companies to, to feel connected to them and in a way that allows them to, to provide the training that’s needed. So I appreciate all of that, and I especially appreciate you stopping by to, to be here on the show. So thanks so much Nelda.

Outro (15:03):
Well, thank you. Thank you, rich. I really appreciate the opportunity. My pleasure. Thanks for listening to innovations and breakthroughs with your host, rich Goldstein. Be sure to click, subscribe, check us out on the web at innovations and breakthroughs that com and we’ll see you next time.