Last week, Creating IT Futures graduated another IT-Ready class from its Edina, MN office, this time consisting of 15 individuals who are ready to start their IT careers. By the time of graduation, 5 out of the 15 students had passed their CompTIA A+ exam with the remaining students set to test over the next week.
During the graduation, Kathy Brennan, senior manager of IT-Ready Minneapolis / St. Paul, thanked the community partners, including the City of Minneapolis Employment and Training, Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Foundation, and the Minneapolis Urban League.
“Each one of these students took a chance on us,” said Brennan. “They are the ones opening the door for the classes that come after them, and we cannot wait to see them take what they have learned and pay it forward.”
IT-Ready is a free, eight-week course offered by the main charity of CompTIA, Creating IT Futures. The program prides itself on providing training to students at no cost and reaching motivated individuals with an aptitude for technology from multiple underserved populations and helping them gain family-sustaining technology careers.
Andrew James Riemer, the technical trainer for this cohort, said to the graduates, “I have found in each of you that spark and desire, and you’re here because you want to be here and it shows. I’m excited to see what the future will bring.”
“This is a wonderful testament to your commitment,” added Sue Wallace, executive director of Minnesota, Creating IT Futures. “What I ask of you at this point is to recognize the opportunity you’ve been given and take full advantage of it. Never stop learning.”
When asked to reflect on his eight-week experience, graduate Chad Kremer said he immediately thought back to the first day of class when he was asked why he started the program.
“It’s the only thing that stuck out and I feel the same way today. It is a fresh start for me, and it starts right now,” said Kremer.
Graduate David Jenson said IT-Ready “was about bettering my future and putting forward all the effort I could to getting the [CompTIA A+] certification.”
Brennan advised the students to “be lifelong learners because that’s why you are interested in this field.”
“I believe there is a direct correlation between someone in the workplace and what they do with their volunteer time,” added Brennan. “Help somebody else out and bring someone else forward.”
“This is a big thing,” said graduate Jason Rhodes. “I’ve never graduated anything higher than high school, so this is awesome.”
Many of the graduates relied on moral support from their classmates and Creating IT Futures staff to get through the rigorous eight-week program.
“I had basic knowledge as a so-called computer nerd and a gamer, and this program gave me a chance to expand on that interest and gain knowledge through Andrew, Karin (the IT-Ready program coordinator), Kathy and others,” said graduate Hunter Geidl. “It brought us all here to learn together, grow together, and connect together.”
Graduate Tounang Her echoed Geidl’s sentiments. “I fed off the enthusiasm, hunger to learn, and determination to finish this program from my classmates. They helped create a positive environment.”
Daniel Heu said to his fellow graduates, “This gives us a sense of validation. We all had the capabilities to finish this program. I believe that everyone here is going to be the next great CompTIA A+ certified technician.”