Inspiring Success

A blog from Creating IT Futures

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April 18, 2017

First IT-Ready Class of 2017 Graduates with Jobs in Hand

GroupPhotoOur ultimate goal with every /developing-programs/it-ready">IT-Ready class is to get students jobs as soon after graduation as possible. In our first IT-Ready class for 2017 last month, one of employment partners couldn’t even wait until graduation to start one of our IT-Ready students.

Insight Global placed Mai Lee as a service desk analyst with Assurant, and Assurant needed her right away, so Lee had to miss her IT-Ready graduation. Mai sent an email to Kathy Brennan, senior manager of IT-Ready, saying, “My time with IT-Ready has been invaluable, and it has taken me a long time to make this change in my career. I’M SO HAPPY THAT I DID. I feel, for the first time, that I am looking at a promising career and see the opportunities to be endless. I am so excited to start this new journey.”

Lee is one of 23 graduates from the class, and already 18 of the 23 have IT jobs, and 20 of the 23 passed their CompTIA A+ certification exams. Creating IT Futures Employment Solutions Specialist Tom Pinger will keep working with the students to place them in jobs.

At no cost to students, IT-Ready assesses, trains, certifies and places unemployed and under-employed adults in their first jobs in the IT field, which has a shortage of qualified workers.

During the March graduation, one of our first-ever IT-Ready graduates, Brant Backes, spoke to the students about what to expect at their first IT job. Backes graduated in 2012 and is now a desktop analyst principle at HealthPartners. He’s also chairman of the newly founded IT-Ready Alumni Board.

Backes was our first 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 years.

“I’ve been having a blast since I graduated,” said Backes. “IT-Ready gave me that foot in the door, and I’ve taken it from there.” Supporting a family of five, Backes was living paycheck to paycheck before IT-Ready. HealthPartners has promoted Backes four times since he originally came onboard and named him employee of the month in just his second month on the job.

“There’s all different kinds of paths in IT. You don’t need to know what you like best now. Just get experience and take advantage of every opportunity,” Backes told the graduates. “Now that you have your CompTIA A+ certification, use your alumni benefits to get your Network+ and Security+. Keep networking with each other to find answers and grow your knowledge of IT.”

“In my mind, I’m not going to work. I’m going to make a difference,” Backes said. He recommended to graduates to “have that mindset every day. You will stand out and achieve.”