Richmond CIS Students Earn Money, Gain Experience, All for a Good Cause

Work-Study Partner Helps Non-Profits and Provides Valuable Experience

By their very nature, most non-profits operate with minimal overhead. Being charitable organizations, they try to ensure that most of the money raised is passed along to people in need which means that maintaining an IT department is often a luxury many cannot afford. Still, non-profits are as vulnerable to hackers and computer issues as any of their counterparts in the for-profit sector. So, what can they do?

In Richmond, Virginia, they can turn to the good people at IT4Causes. “We believe they deserve the best IT solutions possible to serve their clients,” says President & CEO Tom Anderson. “They just need them on a lower-cost basis than for-profit businesses. So at IT4Causes, we’re building the future state of nonprofit IT based on robust strategy, state-of-the-practice technology, and best-in-class people. Our model leverages a shared IT roadmap, common solutions to problems all NPOs face, and skilled IT volunteers to deliver best-in-class services at a nonprofit price.

“Nonprofit agencies need secure and reliable access to business records, client information, volunteer contacts, donor records, and a host of other data. Just like in for-profit businesses, slow performance, data loss, poor integration, and clunky interfaces make the work harder for everyone and impact the bottom line. Except with for-purpose agencies, the bottom line is people, not dollars.”

One way IT4Causes helps keep the cost of services low is by employing students through the Federal Work-Study Program, and ECPI University is one of its most favored partners. Computer and Information Science students from ECPI Richmond campuses who are selected typically work 15 – 25 hours per week, are paid $13 an hour, and gain valuable experience.

“There are so many colleges that only teach theory. That really doesn’t help us. ECPI students are getting the hands-on experience on campus that allows them to be a great asset for our organization.

– Tom Anderson, IT4Causes President & CEO

“Working with IT4Causes has been a great introduction to the industry and I’ve been able to gain on-the-job insights that will surely reinforce my resume for future IT positions,” says Zachary Hardin, a student at the Richmond/Innsbrook campus. “Currently, I am the primary support contact for one of IT4Causes’ largest clients. In this capacity, aside from technical troubleshooting, I’m learning the intricacies of Azure Active Directory administration for a mid-size organization.”

Daniel Runnion, a student at the Richmond/Moorefield campus, spent 13 years in the Army. When he started studying cybersecurity at ECPI University, he says he could do little more than turn a computer on and off and surf the web. “Now, I understand networking, programming in python, servers, and cloud infrastructures, to name a few,” he says. “I was recently offered full-time, permanent work at Xerox, and I think my work with IT4Causes helped show I had good experience to supplement my school work. Ultimately, I would like to become a pen-tester for an organization. I think it will be cool to get paid to legally hack someone’s network while at the same time helping protect their data by finding holes in their security and fixing them.”

Students like Zachary and Daniel are the reason why Tom Anderson keeps hiring ECPI University students for the work-study program. “There are so many colleges that only teach theory,” he says. “That really doesn’t help us. ECPI students are getting the hands-on experience on campus that allows them to be a great asset for our organization. It’s been a game changer for us, a real win-win-win. The students get professional experience, we keep costs manageable for our clients, and those clients enjoy excellent service.”

To learn about eligibility requirements for this Federal Work-Study Program, please contact Richmond Campus Director of Career Services Sara Stone at 804.934.0100 x78244 or

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