By Edward Cardenas

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – The next generation of Detroit’s IT professionals participated in graduation ceremony Thursday to mark their completion in a unique, intensive eight-week training program.

The Experience IT program was collaboration between Detroit-area information technology-focused organizations and workforce agencies to provide the students from diverse backgrounds an in-depth training program to prepare them for a career in information technology.

“It has been quite rewarding to see our students learning new and vital hard and soft tech skills as they moved through our core curriculum to completion,” said Linglong He, CIO of Quicken Loans and ExperienceIT Chair, in a release. “These individuals represent the future for our region and technological innovation in general. As we continue to build Detroit’s IT hub, we want these individuals to stay here for rewarding careers and lives.”

The ExperienceIT program graduated 43 students Thursday at a ceremony in the Qube Building in Detroit. The students completed an intensive eight-week program where they took classes eight hours a day, five days a week; worked on projects and learned the soft skills including interviewing techniques at Grand Circus in Detroit.

Students had classes in technologies such as .Net, Java, SQL Server, MY SQL and PHP.

As of graduation, 26 students have accepted full-time positions and a number of students are currently interviewing.

The IT training initiative was originally founded by Quicken Loans, GalaxE.Solutions, Title Source, Fathead, Marketing Associates and WIN (Workforce Intelligence Network), though ExperienceIT now also counts among its latest partners: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, DTE, Grand Circus, Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation and Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications.

A call for students for ExperienceIT’s second class is expected later this fall in advance of an anticipated Spring 2015 classroom start.

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