Inspiring Success

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April 21, 2014

I Passed!

Roy Sizemore, IT-Ready Graduate
Roy Sizemore was an IT-Ready program participant the Spring of 2013. He just completed the last online training offered through the Alumni Program. Roy is Server+, Security+, Network+ and A+ Certified. Roy’s enthusiasm and dedication were obvious; with each earned certification, he was eager to begin the next. Roy was Creating an IT Future, and his testimonial confirms it.

“I passed! Thank you for everything, I couldn't have done this without you! Thanks Again! Roy”

Recently Roy decided to share his testimony first-hand:

Before I started the IT-Ready program, I was a university drop-out who worked retail jobs. I was a single parent with no help from my former spouse, so school became impossible. The retail jobs I had were part-time for the most part, and were just above minimum wage – the last job I had before I started my training paid $8.29/hour and I worked an average of 28 hours/week. And this was after a raise. I had always been the “computer guy” for everyone I knew, and I even printed business cards to expand and build a client base fixing computers and computer-related issues, but I was never able to land a steady IT job, because I had no certifications or experience. And making as little as I was, I couldn’t afford to pay for any training, nor could I pay for any of the exams. When I read about Per Scholas and the IT-Ready training program on an employment website, I leapt at the opportunity. Here was what I needed, someone to give me a chance, to believe in me, to help me succeed.

The basic skills exam and interview process I went through to enter the training program were good ways to select candidates in my opinion, and put me in the right frame of mind to begin the training. Overall, I enjoyed the training program. The lessons were relevant to real-world experiences and prepared me not only for the A+ exam, but also covered a fair amount of what would end up being on the Network+ exam and for a career in IT in general. James, my instructor, was very knowledgeable, and imparted the lessons in a way that was understandable, but not “dumbed-down.” I went into my A+ exam very confident that I would pass.

The online training programs offered were very comprehensive as well, though much of what was covered far exceeded the materials covered on the exams. This is at the same time both a positive and negative thing. On the one hand, it can be a little confusing trying to focus your attention on the material needed to pass an exam, on the other, the training better prepares you for what you experience on-the-job. The questions in the practice exams were much more difficult than those on the exams themselves, which I thought best prepared me to take the Network+, Security+, and Server+ exams.

As I mentioned earlier, I was a university drop-out who worked mostly retail jobs before entering the IT-Ready training program. In 2000, I graduated with an Associate’s degree in Psychology and went to work for a Political Action Committee (PAC) focusing on environmental issues. After leaving the PAC to return to school, I interned at OSU Press. I had to leave school after having a son and becoming a single parent, so I worked for a small wine shop to make ends meet. This turned into a “career” of sorts. I left the wine shop to become the manager of (at the time) Ohio’s 3rd highest-grossing liquor store in terms of total sales. The store’s license was bought by a major retailer, so the business closed and I was laid off. Still interested in wine, I worked for a winery as an assistant winemaker for a season before taking a contract job with a well-known non-profit chain of thrift stores creating, expanding, and managing their online media retail websites. Though not technically strictly IT, this was my first real IT-related position. When the contract expired, though, I still couldn’t find an IT job, so I returned to retail wine sales. When I left that job after being passed over for a promotion and realizing that I would probably never make a living in wine sales, I tried many different ways to receive IT training and certification, including taking a job selling computers and related equipment. None worked for me, until I found Per Scholas and the IT-Ready training program.

Taking advice from my instructor, after graduation from the program and earning my A+ certification I began training for the Network+ exam and finished in about 6 weeks. I successfully passed this exam, and was offered the Security+ training and exam. During my training, I interviewed and was offered a position as IT Administrator for a small but rapidly-growing automated vending machine company. I passed the Security+ exam, and have also trained for, taken, and passed the Server+ exam offered by the IT-Ready program. I am now earning more than double my previous yearly salary, and my son and I now have full health coverage under my company’s benefits package. Also, most excitingly, because of my company’s growth and my performance, I will be creating and managing my own IT Department starting later this year. I feel this is a direct result of the training I received through the IT-Ready program.