Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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August 8, 2016

Great job with great benefits: IT-Ready grad relishes his new IT career

JoelMielkeWhen IT-Ready in Minnesota recently held an open house/reunion, 2013 graduate Joel Mielke waited until the last possible minute before sending his regrets to his invitation.

It wasn’t that Mielke felt unsure about attending. It’s because he was waiting to see if his work schedule could permit it.

As it turned out, he would be traveling for business purposes on the day of the reunion. But he wanted IT-Ready officials to know he credited the travel — as well as his livelihood—to IT-Ready.

“I absolutely love my job — great pay, great benefits and just enough travel to keep things interesting,” Mielke said.

When IT-Ready first met Mielke,
he was a displaced auto-manufacturing worker struggling to embark upon a new career. Feeling he had nothing to lose, Mielke applied to IT-Ready program and was accepted.

/developing-programs/it-ready">IT-Ready provides eight weeks of intensive, classroom-based education and training completely free of charge to admitted students from target audiences that include unemployed, under-employed and displaced workers; women and ethnic minorities who are under-represented in the IT industry; and veterans and their spouses or caregivers.

IT-Ready students learn skills such as building a computer from parts, installing software, troubleshooting problems and setting up and managing networks. They also learn softer professional skills such as communication, customer service and job interviewing.

At the end of the program, students take the CompTIA A+ certification exam, after which they may qualify for a six-month paid apprenticeship with a local participating company, usually in the role of help-desk or technical support. These internships often lead to permanent, full-time employment.

IT-Ready is offered in Minneapolis / St. Paul by the /home">Creating IT Futures Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CompTIA. It’s also offered in permanent sites in New York City, Washington, D.C., Dallas, and Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio, in partnership with the non-profit organization, Per Scholas, and in temporary, “pop up” locations such as Omaha and Philadelphia.

Just three years after graduating from IT-Ready, Mielke now works as a field engineer for Conquest Technologies performing contract networking service work for clients such as Cisco and Wells Fargo. His work takes him to North Carolina, Arizona, Florida and California. He enjoys his work thoroughly, he said —and remains grateful for the opportunity to pursue a career in IT.

“Please let anyone curious about me know that I am doing well and wished I could be there,” he said. “I appreciate what the entire team at IT-Ready has done for me to make my new career a reality. It has truly been life changing.”