Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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June 26, 2017

Not just going to work, but going to make a difference

By Tom Liszka

FacesOfFinalWe’re here! Week 12 of the Faces of Workforce Development showcase marks the end of the showcase. Here’s where the first 11 weeks have taken us:

  1. Opening doors to unforeseen career paths.
  2. Building confidence through workforce development.
  3. Motivating factors in workforce development.
  4. Workforce development helps complete the career mission.
  5. The role of continuing education in workforce development programs.
  6. The importance soft skills play in successfully reaching your goals.
  7. Putting a stop to dreading the end of the weekend.
  8. Workforce development programs lead to great jobs with great benefits
  9. From warehouse inventories and forklifts to a career in tech, thanks to workforce development.
  10. Knowledge, insight and initiative leads to promotion.
  11. A home base: how workforce development assisted in obtaining United States citizenship.

At Creating IT Futures, we don’t play favorites with our IT-Ready graduates. Each student creates their own path and defines success in their own way. They are the ones who move mountains by committing to eight weeks of 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. training, five days a week. Sometimes, however, we can’t help but be amazed by the successes students from the first ever class have attained.


Imagine this for a second: a pilot IT program comes to your city. The program offers training toward the CompTIA A+ certification. Also, the program will provide the vouchers for the exams. Then they say they’ll help you find a job. Oh, and by the way, it’s all free.


You would be skeptical too, right? Re-reading that paragraph myself puts all sorts of doubts in my mind, and the program now has five years of success under its belt. I can’t imagine what those first 11 students from the summer of 2012 thought they were walking into.


Enter Brant Backes. Brant still can clearly remember the feelings of that day even though it has been over five years. He and his wife were sitting at their kitchen table looking at their options. He’d been permanently laid off and had to start looking for another job. A brand-new workforce development pilot changed all of that. Brant graduated in 2012 and is now a desktop support analyst principle at HealthPartners. He’s also chairman of the newly founded IT-Ready Alumni Board.


Brant was the first IT-Ready graduate to be employed by HealthPartners, and he has been so successful there, that HealthPartners has hired another 14 more IT-Ready graduates over the past five years.


Supporting a family of five, Brant was living paycheck to paycheck before IT-Ready. HealthPartners has promoted Brant four times since he was hired and named him employee of the month in his second month on the job.


“I’ve been having a blast since I graduated. IT-Ready gave me that foot in the door, and I’ve taken it from there.

“There’s all different kinds of paths in IT. You don’t need to know what you like best now. Just get experience and take advantage of every opportunity. Now that you have your CompTIA A+ certification, use your alumni benefits to get your Network+ and Security+. Keep networking with each other to find answers and grow your knowledge of IT.

“In my mind, I’m not going to work. I’m going to make a difference. Have that mindset every day and you will stand out and achieve.”


Brant was also generous enough to sit down and share his story with us on video. You can view the video below.