Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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December 18, 2015

The Beginning of Something at IT-Ready

By Tom Liszka

ChicagoGraduates Jorge Hernandez and Kandis Wright are just two of 12 IT-Ready Chicago graduates.
“This class makes you realize if there is something you want to accomplish, there are no shortcuts,” noted Edwin “Ed” Harvey, one of 12 students graduating in Chicago, IL, this week from Creating IT Futures’ IT-Ready class. “You have to put in the time and effort. I forgot how much perseverance I had.”

IT-Ready is a free, eight-week course offered by the IT charity, Creating IT Futures Foundation. 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.

“Eight weeks ago, these students accepted a challenge,” said Mike Howard, the IT-Ready Chicago trainer from A Critical Path. “They brought intellect, drive, ambition and a willingness to step outside their comfort zones. In short, they brought themselves.”

 “It took complete and total immersion,” remarked student Brittany Lowe-Lipsey. “That meant involving myself in this community of like-minded individuals inside and outside of the classroom.”

Through eight intensive weeks, IT-Ready gives students the training in technical and soft skills to become successful in an IT career. The class is free to students as they aim to pass the CompTIA A+ certification at the end of the course. A majority of students pass the certification in part because they study together and encourage each other to succeed.

“I learned to use all the tools that were provided,” said student Juan Vega. “That includes my classmates and our instructors. If you apply these tools to whatever you are learning, you won’t go the route alone.”

“If you want to do something, make up your mind and make a decision,” said CompTIA A+ certified graduate Kandis Wright. “Getting into the IT-Ready program was a blessing for me, so I was determined to stay the course.”

A majority of IT-Ready graduates will find themselves in IT help desk or technical support roles with local companies. It is a way to get their feet wet 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+.

“The IT industry is an industry that will always have a future ahead of it,” said Bruce Montgomery, CTO of EnglewoodBlue, the site host for the training. “It gives you the opportunity to get back on the horse, so be open to new opportunities. Your gut instinct is more right than you ever imagined.”

Howard closed the ceremony by saying, “We use the word commencement almost solely when speaking about graduation, but what does it really mean? Sure, it means graduation, but that’s the second definition I came across. The first is, and I quote, ‘The beginning of something’ and that fits this situation far better.”

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