By: Chad Green
Last week was the final chapter for the 2018 winter IT-Ready class in the Twin Cities, but now these students are starting a new chapter in their tech careers. With honor, students shared words of appreciation for the program.
New grad Jarvis Smith explained his initial hesitations coming into the program, which are now pushing him to new heights today.
"I had a lot of skepticism coming in here because I was settled in what I was doing,” said Smith. “After starting, I had even more regrets, like ‘what did I get myself into?’ Until I said, ‘you know what, if students from the past can get through, why can't I?’ So I asked, ‘does anyone else not have experience in IT?’ and about four others raised their hands, and I was good to go." His message to his fellow classmates was "don't get satisfied with what we have done here; just keep on learning more."
Another graduate, Mark Hoelscher explained how the program offered his life a new direction.
“From jumping career to career, job to job, and education falling through, in addition to returning from the military, it seemed like things took a little nosedive,” said Hoelscher. “I couldn’t focus on anything, and to be honest, I expected this to do the same. I’m really happy this worked out, because I have loved computers my entire life, so this is a start of a turnaround.”
Throughout the students’ words of honor, there was an echoed appreciation for the support they received from staff and peers. That motivation allowed the students to challenge themselves to learn more and create the futures they want to live.
In addition to everyone’s achievements, Kathy Brennan, senior manager of IT-Ready, Creating IT Futures, addressed the importance of storytelling and how this graduation is only the beginning, which was the perfect introduction to the first IT-Ready career fair in the Twin Cities.
Under the coordination of Kate Kirschner, Creating IT Futures’ employer relationship manager, students could meet face to face with employers, harnessing workforce connections to new employment opportunities. After graduation, students met with eight companies in a coffee shop fashion, where they were able to form relationships with company representatives, allowing them to set a foundation for their new career paths.
With these IT-Ready graduates, the momentum of success has only begun, and there is no doubt that all their hard work will be rewarded soon.
Special thanks to career fair participants: Corporate Technologies, Fairview Health Services, HealthPartners, OurFamilyWizard, TEKsystems, Thomson Reuters, U.S. Bank and Virteva for supporting IT-Ready and this recent cohort of graduates. Employers who wish to hire our graduates in the Twin Cities should contact Kate Kirschner, employer relationship manager for Creating IT Futures.