Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Preble forged a rewarding career with the military, serving 14 years in full-time active duty before transferring to the Army Reserves.
His transition from military work into civilian work was not a smooth one, however. And despite his years of practical and leadership experience, Preble found that his military resume did not translate well for civilian hiring managers.
“Before I participated in IT-Ready, I was unemployed,” he said. “The best-paying job I was able to find was working at the airport for a little over $13 an hour at night. Other than that, my job prospects were not great upon getting off active duty.”
After Preble’s mother read an article about IT-Ready in the local newspaper, she suggested that he apply.
“I’ve always enjoyed computers and technology, so IT seemed like a very good fit toward my personal strengths and passions that I have personally,” he said. “I also learned to interact with and assist people in all my various positions in the Army, which is a very helpful skill in the IT industry.”
Preble applied to IT-Ready and was admitted, graduating in June 2016.
Free training for an IT career
Offered completely free of charge to participants, IT-Ready actively seeks to recruit people who are unemployed or underemployed, as well as people typically underrepresented in the IT workforce, such as women and people of color.
During eight weeks of intensive, classroom-based training, Preble learned the hard technical and soft professional skills required to secure an entry-level position in IT. He learned about laptop and desktop assembly; how to install and configure different operating systems; and how to troubleshoot computers and devices such as smart phones and printers.
On the soft skills front, Preble learned career-enhancing attributes such as how to interview effectively, communicate clearly and work well with others, and how to craft a professional-looking resume. At the end of IT-Ready, students take the CompTIA A+ certification exam.
Following his graduation from IT-Ready and CompTIA A+ certification, Preble secured employed at Lifetouch National School Studios, thanks to IT-Ready’s employer referral program.
Taking another path
Preble acknowledges that his IT-Ready training prepared him well for a long-term career in IT and that he was well on the way toward establishing an upwardly mobile career in tech.
That being said, Preble discovered IT wasn’t the right fit for him. So he turned his sights back to military training. Currently, he is at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio studying to become a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) and learning how to perform biomedical equipment repair duties at fixed and deployable medical/dental treatment facilities.
Upon completion of the program, he will be a supervisor of a biomed section with his reserve unit in Fort Snelling, Minn. His longer-term goal is to become a BMET director or supervisor of a civilian hospital or a major medical device supplier to hospitals.
Lessons learned from IT-Ready
Although his career path won’t be in IT, Preble said that he learned a lot from IT-Ready that he will use regardless of employment he secures.
“A lot of the things I learned in IT-Ready were lessons and training I received in the Army, so it was a reaffirmation of skills it takes to be successful in whatever you do in life,” he said. “You have to be dedicated, show up on time and be prepared to do what you need to do whether it’s for a company or country, and have a willingness to take on challenges that life will throw at you.”