Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

Back to Listing

September 15, 2015

Graduating Class Has High Hopes for Career Advancement.

GraduatesLast week, 19 students represented the 2015 Summer IT-Ready Minneapolis / St. Paul graduating class, the region’s tenth overall. Many of the students have already taken the first step to rewarding careers in IT by earning their CompTIA A+ certification.

“Even though this is a graduation ceremony and it seems like the end, it’s really more of a beginning,” said Sue Wallace, executive director of Creating IT Futures for Minnesota. “The knowledge and connections gained are the launching pad to the next phase in their new career in IT.”

/developing-programs/it-ready">IT-Ready is a free, eight-week course offered across America by the /home">Creating IT Futures Foundation and Per Scholas. To qualify, a person must be unemployed or under-employed. The program also looks for individuals from under-represented groups in information technology, such as women, African Americans and Hispanics.

“I have worked in the IT field and wasn’t going far,” said student Bey Vang. “But now all us have this certificate that says, ‘here is the first step into an IT career.’”

“Over 500 people applied for this class and for the first time, we had a waiting list,” said Kathy Brennan, manager of IT-Ready Minneapolis / St. Paul. “19 of them persevered and the greatest part is that this is the start of their network right here.”

They keynote for the event was Vicki Greene, vice president of operations management at GED Testing Service. GED Testing Service employs two IT-Ready alumni, which she says are two key resources to her team for executing against the strategy that they are working toward.

“I was not looking for someone who just wanted to get by,” Greene said. “I wanted someone to look at this opportunity as a stepping stone to their IT career. I wanted someone who had high hopes for career advancement. I found that at IT-Ready.”

“I am happy to report that Spring 2012 graduate Azeem Begum recently completed her third year at GED Testing Service, received her second promotion, and is now a Level 3 analyst,” Greene added. “We hired Fall 2014 graduate Caitlin Jones earlier this year and she is already standing out with her remarkable analytics skills.”

The bulk of all IT-Ready graduates will find themselves in IT help desk or technical support roles with local companies. It is a way to get a foothold in a new career that offers better upward mobility than most fields.

Within six months of becoming CompTIA A+ certified, IT-Ready graduates are invited to access free online training and testing vouchers for other CompTIA certifications, including CompTIA Network+, CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Server+.

In addition to the technical skills tailored toward the CompTIA A+ exam, the program focuses on the soft professional skills that employers also need.

“I found out about IT-Ready on the news, watched the testimonials, and saw that people skills were important,” said student Marshall Smith. “I now have a sense of direction which I felt was lacking over the past year. I’m grateful for this opportunity and very excited to get into the IT field.”

“It is okay to be scared and vulnerable,” Greene added. “Make sure you’re yourself and make sure you give all that you can and don’t be afraid.”

IT-Ready is now accepting applications for the Fall 2015 class. To apply, please visit the /developing-programs/it-ready/application">application page.

Tom Liszka is Manager, Social and Digital Media, at the Creating IT Futures Foundation.