Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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December 14, 2015

The Classmates You Always Wanted

EdinaGroup“It’s like the high school class I always wanted,” quipped Shane Cotter, one of 18 students graduating in Edina, Minn. last week from Creating IT Futures’ IT-Ready class. When speaking to his classmates about IT-Ready, Shane summed up the feeling that many of his classmates voiced during the graduation.

Kathy Brennan, manager of IT-Ready in Minneapolis / St. Paul for the IT charity, Creating IT Futures Foundation, said, “With each class, we try to create a sense of family. The students in our October class in Edina became a tight-knit support system for each other.”

In just eight intensive weeks, IT-Ready gives students the training in technical and soft skills to launch an IT career. Students pay nothing for the class but strive to pass the CompTIA A+ certification at the end of the course. Most students pass the certification, in part because they study together and encourage each other to succeed. In the Minneapolis / St. Paul area, more than 150 individuals have graduated from IT-Ready since 2012, with nearly 95 percent earning their CompTIA A+ certification and 80 percent moving into paid IT roles with area companies after graduation.

“I’ve never studied so much and so hard for one thing before IT-Ready,” said graduate Benjamin Yang. For five days a week, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the students are dedicated to their learning. IT-Ready only allows one missed class and two absences because the program wants the students committed to their education, which in turn, will show employers that they’re committed to a career.

During the graduation, students remarked how they couldn’t have gotten through the program alone. Graduate Susie Douang said, “The IT-Ready staff believed in me. Employers before had told me ‘no’, but here everyone says, ‘yes, you can do this.’”

“Everyone is so motivated and positive. The staff is really into what they do,” added graduate Lolue Moua. Graduate Brett Olson added, “IT-Ready was life changing for me, and the staff made it possible. We’re just at the beginning now, and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.”

Before the class officially ended, already Brett and three other graduates had received job offers from local Minnesota companies. The rest of the graduates will continue to interview as Creating IT Futures connects them with employers. More than 60 employers partner with Creating IT Futures in Minneapolis / St. Paul to bring new people into the IT workforce.

To sign up to partner with IT-Ready, go to www.itreadynetwork.org. To participate as a student for the next class in Edina, register online before January 18. A free information session will be held at 10:00 a.m. and again at 6:00 p.m. on January 6 at the Creating IT Futures’ office in Edina. RSVP for the information session to knordmeyer@comptia.org.