Inspiring Success

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July 10, 2017

Recapping the Faces of Workforce Development

By Tom Liszka

#FacesOf_RecapEach week, the Faces of Workforce Development Showcase had a theme meant to highlight real-life testimonials of individuals who have developed into successful IT professionals thanks to workforce development programs.

Here’s a recap of each week, as well as a link to the original story:


Week 1: Opening doors to unforeseen career paths
We heard from Derrick Guy, a Fall 2016 IT-Ready graduate, about how his career in construction took him to an IT career path. In two months, Derrick accomplished what would have taken him a year or more to achieve otherwise. IT-Ready gave him the confidence boost to reach new heights and succeed at new goals


Week 2: Building confidence through workforce development
Andrea Ring has steadily advanced within her IT career thanks to IT-Ready, and offers two key takeaways: "One is that you don’t have to know everything about IT. If you have the basics and know how to troubleshoot, your future employer will teach you the rest. Secondly, be confident. Confidence will not only win over an employer, it will also win over your customers.” 


Week 3: Motivating factors in workforce development
Ahmed Mohamed did not pass his first certification exam. Discouraged but not defeated, and motivated by his family, he found IT-Ready and a new IT career at Fairview Health Services, making him one of the many faces of workforce development.


Week 4: Workforce development helps complete the career mission
Even though Brittany Lowe-Lipsey did not pass her CompTIA A+ Certification, the knowledge she gained at IT-Ready, plus her drive and passion for IT, landed her a job at a small intellectual property firm as a Desktop Support Analyst – Tier I. She then used that experience to launch a career in SEO marketing, proving that not all success stories start with certification and end in IT. While we strive for a 100 percent certification rate and placement in IT-specific jobs, some stories take time to evolve and lead to new career opportunities outside of tech.


Week 5: The role of continuing education in workforce development programs
IT is leading to surreal days for many individuals. After program completion, many students like Joshua Phelps are pursuing additional certifications, allowing them to gain more knowledge and work on projects that a year prior they would not have understood. Thanks to IT-Ready, he has learned more in less than two years than what he did the 10 years prior, and he has an awesome job to prove it.


Week 6: The importance soft skills play in successfully reaching your goals
Employers of IT talent — in all industry verticals — consistently point to a job candidate’s professional soft skills as key to hiring and advancing in pay and promotions. Nikki Riemersma — who provides tier I and tier II IT support and manages hardware and software purchasing and deployment for H.B. Fuller Company's North America region — said PrepareU made her more effective in her position.


Week 7: Putting a stop to dreading the end of the weekend
Peter White shared his story about having a job he enjoys going to with a career in IT. He no longer dreads the end of the weekend.


Week 8: Workforce development programs lead to great jobs with great benefits
In 2012, Joel Mielke of Crystal, MN, a divorced father of four, found himself at the point of despair. Today, just four years after graduating from IT-Ready, the displaced auto-manufacturing worker works as a field engineer for Conquest Technologies, Inc., performing contract networking service work for clients such as Cisco and Wells Fargo.


Week 9: From warehouse inventories and forklifts to a career in technology
A lay-off notice – the third one in six years – was when Jeff Davis knew he needed an industry change. IT-Ready gave him the tools he needed to move into IT.


Week 10: Knowledge, insight and initiative leads to promotions
Since joining Atomic Data a little over a year ago, Tucker Landis already has been promoted to Network Operations Center Technician Level II and Team Lead. He enjoys his work, which involves monitoring from the top down the technical operations of hundreds of clients and assisting them with everything ranging from a broken monitor to network devices to infrastructure devices.


Week 11: How workforce development assisted in obtaining United States citizenship
Every three years, Catalina Bauer had to worry about saving up enough money to renew her United States residency. Within one year of graduating IT-Ready, she got the tech job, saved money & obtained her U.S. citizenship.


Week 12: Not just going to work, but going to make a difference
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. Sometimes, however, we can’t help but be amazed by the students from the inaugural class. Enter Brant Backes. Supporting a family of 5, Brant was living paycheck to paycheck before IT-Ready. He 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 year.