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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The city of Sacramento put out a call for applicants who want to get free digital training worth $15,000 and which could lead to higher-paying jobs in a modern workforce.

Digital jobs in data management and information technology are what Sacramento sees in its future.

The roll-out of the training program can be a life-changer for underserved youth and communities that Mayor Darrell Steinberg says he wants help. 

Instead of paying for the training, chosen applicants will be paid during the nine-week course.

“A stipend of $600 per week, a free laptop and $150 for access to the internet,” Mayor Steinberg explained.

For the city, it means a more skilled workforce and opportunities for low-income residents frustrated from being stuck in a cycle of economic distress and displacement made worse by jobs lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Low-wage Americans without a bachelor’s degree are hardest hit in the times of recession,” said Connor Diemand-Yauman, co-CEO of Merit America.

Merit America is one of the nonprofits spearheading the training, which comes with certification, job placement, peer counseling and coaching.

Business leaders are on board because companies say they are looking for digitally-skilled workers who can join the middle class.

“The earning potential of this certification runs between 48,000 and 50,000 dollars a year,” said Barry Broome, the president and CEO of the Greater Sacramento Economic Council.

Since federal CARES Act funding expires soon, the city needs 400 applicants in the next five days, 40 of whom will be chosen.

They can range from young people to displaced older workers and veterans to those who cannot afford to go to college. They only need to be a resident of Sacramento and have a high school diploma.

The selections will be made by the Greater Sacramento Urban League, an experienced job training nonprofit.

“It’s going to boil down to who’s really committed, who’s really ready to go and that will be able to stay through the program and we can connect them with jobs,” said Greater Sacramento Urban League President and CEO Cassandra Jennings.

The Urban League said those applicants who are not chosen will still get job training services and Mayor Steinberg has promised to keep a high tech training program going even after federal money runs out at the end of the year. 

There is an abbreviated deadline of Friday to apply for the digital training program. Contact the Greater Sacramento Urban League for more information, or click or tap here.