Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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November 21, 2016

IT-Ready Class Increases Students’ Passion for Education and Tech

By Daniel Margolis

Elgin-gradThis month in Elgin, Ill., the Creating IT Futures Foundation graduated its latest IT-Ready class. IT-Ready is a free education, training and career placement program. The Elgin class had been through an eight-week course preparing it to pass CompTIA A+ certification. Students also receive a free voucher to take CompTIA A+ via their participation.

IT-Ready instructor Sean Callinan pointed out that while the class was free, it came at a cost – effort. “Week three, week four, week five; I was worried we were going to have nosebleeds,” he joked.

Each student spoke before receiving their certificates of completion. Graduate Marcelino Lopez said he had recently been an ITT Technical Institute student but that he “lost an opportunity there” (the school shut down in September after the Department of Education cut off access to federal financial aid for new students). He said the IT-Ready course has been an “eye-opening experience” and praised Callinan, as did fellow graduate Darrell Penn, who called him “an awesome instructor.”

“He’s a Marine too, so that’s been very helpful,” Penn said. “I didn’t expect the depth of the program. I learned more in eight weeks here than I did in my entire college career.”

Graduate Orlando Martinez echoed this sentiment. “Coming into the opportunity, I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I learned a lot. I would rank Sean in my top five [instructors].” This drew laughs from the room, and Martinez rushed to clarify that this wasn’t a slight. “Top five is good! Top five means I’ll remember you.”

Students used their chances to speak as an opportunity to share their thoughts on education in general. “I hated school, period. I was very smart, but I didn’t like it,” said Montaque Jones. “I recently got an engineering degree and was applying for jobs for jobs I didn’t want.” IT-Ready got Jones out of this trap. “I’d always wanted to get into IT. I’ve been a computer hobbyist for years.”

Graduate Phyllis Flanagan also said she’d “dibbled and dabbled with computers” for years before signing up for IT-Ready. One of her favorite things about the course was meeting the Creating IT Futures staff. “It’s great to meet the people behind the scenes,” she said. “I appreciate the work that you do.”

Student Brian Murray said, “I didn’t know what to expect but I learned a lot. I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

“It’s been like learning a whole new language for me,” said student Duang Truong, who added that he felt confident going into the CompTIA A+ exam.

Melanie Dugger was more than confident; she arrived at the graduation just having passed hew A+ exam. She, too, praised the course itself. “There were times I didn’t even realize I was learning; that’s how fun it was,” she said. “It increased my passion for technology.”

Creating IT Futures Manager Kathy Mrazek concluded the graduation by encouraging the students to “keep these friendships after the doors close here. And I know you’ll all succeed.”

Daniel Margolis is senior managing editor in marketing at CompTIA.