By Kaitlyn Brennan
Students making the individual decision to change their lives are courageous. Getting the support from other enabling students to exceed all their expectations is what the Twin Cities IT-Ready 16th graduating class was all about.
The 2016 Summer IT-Ready class, which graduated last week, is only one of three classes with a 100-percent graduation rate. What is the key to graduating with a class of 100 percent?
Kathy Brennan, senior program manager of Creating IT Futures, says, teamwork. “This class seemed to come together quickly to help support each other through these pretty tough eight weeks.”
a perfect graduation rate.
Tu Yang, a proud member of the class explained, “This has been an awesome team and is like our second family. We know each other’s strength and weaknesses.”
This bonding sentiment was shared by many of the other students. Making community coffee in the lunchroom, distributing flashcards and study guides for study groups, all led to a positive environment throughout class. Even more inspiring is the true friendships the students formed and the underlying supportive community environment the Creating IT Futures team lent to this class’ success.
“I had found about this program a couple years ago and I thought, is this too good to be true? At the time I was currently employed and unfortunately earlier this year, my job was outsourced. It put me in a bind and to say; ‘Do I want to stay with this organization or do I want to take a chance to better myself and better my future?’” graduate Willie Brooks shared his decision dilemma to join the program, which echoed what a lot of the students questioned as well.
Is IT-Ready too good to be true? The program takes in unemployed or underemployed individuals who are looking to jump-start their careers. Students are trained for eight weeks at no cost and come out of the program certified and ready for the IT field. What’s the catch? All the students that went through this program found out collectively there isn’t one. As long as you, show up on time, don’t miss class and work hard, a career in tech is yours through Creating IT Futures.
David Cloud, another graduate, was a co-worker of Willie’s and heard about the program through him. Cloud was grateful for the opportunity to pursue his passion in tech. “I always liked technology. I just never really had a certification and that held me back. So to actually go into the field with this in hand and to actually grow and learn more is what this program has made available for us,” Cloud confirmed.
senior program manager.
Graduate Chue Xiong applied for the IT-Ready class hoping to make a change in his career. “Coming to this program I knew nothing about computers or software. I was more in the medical field, so I took this program to turn into where I felt like I was working without even trying, tech. I’ve always had an interest for IT and now I can pursue that passion.”
The variety of backgrounds reflects the diversity and ages of students this program takes in and the commitment they all share to finish the program and pass the CompTIA A+ certification exam.
Neal Laufenberg, senior solution consultant for ServiceNOW, conducts a 2-½ hour workshop for every IT-Ready class. He talked to the students about the IT industry and left them with some words of advice, “Don’t focus on the widget you are currently fixing, focus on the business. It’s not so much the thing you are fixing, it’s the person who is counting on you to fix it. It’s the finance guy that has a report due to the CEO, so the CEO can make a critical announcement to the street, which increases the company’s value. The company’s value is what’s most important.”
These students have learned professional skills, which Laufenberg referenced along with their certifications, and are ready to take on the tech field while also learning how to help out others.
“You guys are like my second family with a really close bond. It really helped coming to school every day and having that kind-hearted feeling,” graduate Dusty Tower added.
Moving along this class hopes to keep in touch in the IT field and in their personal lives as well. Their close bonds are what led to this class’ success and will undoubtedly continue past the classroom.