By: Tom Liszka
“We’re here to celebrate, but it’s more than just a celebration of all the accomplishments,” said Sue Wallace, executive director of national workforce solutions for Creating IT Futures. “It’s an opportunity for current students to network with former students and a wonderful opportunity for all IT-Ready students, past and present, to network with our employer and community partners and our funders.”
Students from IT-Ready’s current class and new venture, IT-Ready QA, where individuals are trained to become software testers, got a chance to network with IT-Ready Tech Support alumni and learn how they got through the curriculum, passed their CompTIA A+ certification exams, and were successfully placed in IT roles.
“We always encourage the networking aspect,” added Wallace. “It’s not necessarily what you’re doing right now, but how you’re connecting for your future growth within your career and leaning on people who have that similar type of experience.”
New to the festivities this year was CompTIA AITP, represented by Nancy Hammervik, executive vice president of industry relations for CompTIA, and Colleen Phonwiang, director of CompTIA AITP. The two spoke about CompTIA’s 2017 launch of the Association of Information Technology Professionals.
“We have exciting news for alumni and current students,” said Hammervik, speaking about CompTIA AITP to those in attendance. “This is an opportunity to continue to be part of the CompTIA family, so we can help you stay relevant in your careers, continue the education, continue the learning, but more importantly, create a platform for you to stay together and network.”
To mirror the national expansion of the IT-Ready program, throughout the day, alumni based outside of the Twin Cities and those who could not attend the celebration, were given the opportunity to participate remotely with a series of Facebook Live sessions featuring Creating IT Futures employees Kate Kirschner, employer relationship manager, and Tom Liszka, senior digital brand manager. The event itself, which featured bowling and bocce for attendees, was made possible thanks in large part to Silver Celebration Sponsors HealthPartners, GED Testing Service and Thomson Reuters; and Bronze Celebration Sponsor TechGuru.
“We love our sponsors and the work we’re doing would not be possible without them,” added Wallace. “In addition to our event sponsors, we have a variety of ongoing sponsors that help us support our program, and we really appreciate what they’re doing for us, and their financial contributions allow us to do the good work we’re doing.”
“It used to be we’d have these celebrations, and I could pretty much tell you what year you were in our classes,” joked Charles Eaton, CEO of Creating IT Futures and executive vice-president of social innovation of CompTIA. “I see a lot of unfamiliar faces now, and that’s because of the growth of the program. I can’t keep up! Part of the reason we do all this is we love to see you and we love to hear your stories.”
CompTIA AITP is hosting a special CompTIA AITP event in Minnesota, Your True Professional Self (Finding It, Sharing It), on July 17. Register today!