“Opportunities don't happen, you create them,” said photographer Chris Grosser.
This statement rang a bell as I joined the latest graduating IT-Ready class in the Twin Cities. It was the most impactful moment since I became the social media and recruitment fellow with Creating IT Futures earlier this month. It reminded me that the IT industry can change the face of unemployment across the United States.
IT-Ready students came in smiling for their graduation as Creating IT Futures ushered them into new opportunities as to whom they want to be and how to take their careers further.
The graduation started with an introduction from Creating IT Futures Program Coordinator Karin Nordmeyer and from IT-Ready Alumnus Clifford Toh, now a technical user support analyst at Medtronic. “Begin to think about your next plan as you have been empowered by Creating IT Futures for your next level. Today will set your career path to build your entire future,” said Toh.
With excitement, graduating students shared words of appreciation for the program and to the entire Creating IT Futures team.
“I thought I had a lot of knowledge before coming in, but getting here, I noticed that I did not know anything. IT-Ready has really put me on a new path. Coming from another country, I also have the courage to say I can make something out of this; I will build my tech career future,” said graduate Ebun Agbomabiwon.
Another graduate explained the reason why he took the bold step to be part of the program. “I haven't shared this with anyone, but five years ago I was homeless and had a drug addiction. Today I am here and seeing myself as somebody. IT-Ready has turned around my future. This program is the best thing that has happened to me this year, rounding it up with an opportunity that will launch my tech career,” said Robert Saunders.
During the appreciations from the students, they echoed how satisfied they were with the instructor and how he made them see the future in tech careers and how they can keep building on what they started in IT-Ready.
Instructor Bob Weiss encouraged them to get set for what the tech future holds for them, and for all the graduates that had not passed their CompTIA A+ exams yet, he said they should focus and make that happen.
Graduate Shaul Justice-Elk said, “I am doing this for my children, and I am very sure they will be proud of me. IT-Ready continues to build my interest in the tech industry.”
“I worked as an IT intern, but today with IT-Ready, I can say that I have been able to learn how to work effectively with different tech support systems and people,” added graduate Blong Vang.
Kathy Brennan, director, national workforce solutions, Creating IT Futures, in closing out the graduation, shared with students how important they are to Creating IT Futures and how proud she is that they have been able to go through the eight weeks of training. She said, “This graduation is only the beginning – now you need to start working on how to transform into a career that builds a sustainable future.”
Immediately after the graduation, a room was set up where the students could meet face to face with employers, harnessing workforce connections to new employment opportunities. Students met with 13 companies, where they were able to interact with company representatives, allowing them to set a foundation for their new career paths. Thanks go out to Atomic Data, Boonya Systems, Corporate Technologies, DecisionOne, Fairview Health Services, HealthPartners, McCormick Computer, MyTech Partners, OurFamilyWizard, Tech Guru, Thomson Reuters, Virteva and Volt Workforce Solutions for meeting with the graduates.
“Graduation day is the most exciting day, because we get to hear from each student about what this eight-week class meant to them. We start up as strangers and end up as a family. They inspired us as staff and I hope they will continue to be here to do what they know best. This is not the end but just the beginning,” added Brennan.
Special thanks to IT-Ready partners in the Twin Cities: Atomic Data, CompTIA, Jewish Family and Children’s Services of Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Foundation, Minneapolis Urban League, MSP TechHire, Otto Bremer Foundation, Pitney Bowes Foundation, and Richard M. Schultz Family Foundation for supporting IT-Ready and these recent graduates.