Opening the latest Portland IT-Ready graduation last month, IT-Ready partner Kei Ishida, senior project manager for Worksystems, congratulated the students on all their hard work. “There were many hoops to jump through just to get into this class and now you’re all graduating.” He urged students, “Your perseverance and grit will be key in moving forward. Your success doesn’t end here. Keep learning. Don’t take your foot off the pedal.”
Their instructor, Aaron Peck, congratulated the class on having the highest aggregate test scores of any Portland IT-Ready class. Out of the 23 graduates, 21 had already passed the first part of CompTIA A+ certification with 18 already passing both parts of CompTIA A+. One student, Chris Bauersfield, had the highest aggregate score on the test that Peck has ever taught in any classroom. Bauersfield already had landed a job with BridgeTech by graduation day.
Bauersfield said of IT-Ready, “I really liked the hands-on exercises and the balances between in-class experiences and textbook learning. IT-Ready goes over the concepts in-depth enough that you can understand how computers and systems operate.”
He particularly was excited to start his first job in IT with BridgeTech. “Starting with a managed services provider like BridgeTech will provide me the most opportunities for various IT learning and growing my knowledge and skills in IT.”
Graduate Adam Blodgett commented, “This has been quite the experience. There was so much to learn and so much I’m going to keep learning.”
One of the graduates, Robert DeFord, had a bachelors in IT before entering IT-Ready but still had trouble finding a job. “I thought I knew everything, but I didn’t know it all. There was a lot to learn (in this class) and to keep learning.”
Graduate Christina Maxwell already had organized a sign-up sheet so that the graduates could meet up to start studying for the CompTIA Network+ certification exam, which graduates get to take for free after passing their CompTIA A+ exams.
Maxwell was one of several students that praised their instructor. “Aaron shows incredible patience. If you don’t understand something, he will find a way to get that information to you so that you can digest it and have it make sense to you. He makes that book (the CompTIA A+ study guide) come to life. When I took the test, I remembered stories Aaron taught that helped me know how to answer the questions.”
Renee Smith echoed Maxwell’s comments, “Aaron had more faith in me than I had in myself.”
Chris Harris, CTO, BridgeTech, gave the keynote address to the graduates, praising them on breaking through and creating a new habit. “Over the past eight weeks, you’ve established a new habit of getting to class every day and continual learning. Keep that going.”
When Harris was starting out in IT, he spent about $10,000 taking a year-long course to master six Microsoft certifications, but it still took him more than a year to get a job in the industry. He eventually found a sales job, selling computers, which got him a foot in the tech door. He urged graduates to take any job which will allow them to put a technology or computer job on their resume to help them get in the door.
Graduate Marcus Probasco noted that, “at first the class seemed to be too good to be true, but it’s as good as they say it is.” He’s now looking for employment with a company that “will be supportive and help me keep learning.”
After the graduation, local employers participated in a career fair to get to know the graduates. Special thanks to BridgeTech, Cook Security Group, Leyard/Planar, Oregon Health & Science University, TEKsystems and US Bank for supporting IT-Ready and this cohort of graduates. Employers who wish to hire our graduates in Portland should contact Amy Eernisse-Liang, workforce solutions manager for Creating IT Futures.