This month, Creating IT Futures graduated its thirteenth IT-Ready class in the Twin Cities – bringing the total to approximately 20 overall. For only the second time in the program’s history, every student admitted to the class graduated. Even better, by graduation day, 14 out of the 20 students had passed their CompTIA A+ exam with the final six students to keep testing this month.
What really set this class apart was their level of teamwork. Kathy Brennan, manager, IT-Ready, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Creating IT Futures, said during graduation, “From the first day of class, you all treated each other like you would at a high school reunion. You offered each other carpooling options, babysitting and part-time job introductions. Your attitude was how you can help each other.”
While accepting his diploma, graduate Aaron Clark said, “I came in with no expectations. The connections that I made here are more than anything I could have ever expected. Everyone builds each other up. This class changed my perspective on life.”
Joe Yang thanked his classmates for always pushing each other to succeed, while Michael Bradley echoed his thanks, adding, “We all never gave up on each other.”
“I knew I had to strive for something and this [IT-Ready] is it. You all, my teammates, were my motivation,” said Kinmala Lamar.
To help close the IT skills gap for those lacking opportunity, IT-Ready offers free education, training and career placement program. Over an eight-week, classroom-based course, students gather the knowledge and skills they need for a successful IT career, then the program connects them to an opportunity to get on-the-job experience. The students only focus on the hard, technical skills and the soft, professional skills that employers look for in job candidates. In the final week of class, students take the two parts of the CompTIA A+ exam to prove to employers that they have the skills to work in an entry-level IT job.
“Our certifications give you that first gate to your new career,” said Trent Howell, senior director of certification marketing, CompTIA, addressing the students at graduation. “But keep learning and look for what’s new. Congratulations on taking this first step.”
Vadym Parasyuk, who originally worked in accounting before enrolling in IT-Ready, said, “I feel like I belong to a privileged club now that I’ve passed my CompTIA A+.”
“Nothing can hold us back now,” Janelle Nero added.
While accepting their diplomas, many of the students commented on how they felt IT-Ready was the key step to their new career and they can now see a future in IT for themselves. Jason Ross advised his classmates to never be afraid to strive for more.
Jung Won Sung said, “This IT-Ready class was the best thing I’ve ever been a part of. The staff and my classmates were so encouraging, positive and energetic.”
While presenting a class gift to the Creating IT Futures staff, Clifford Toh said, “You make us believe in ourselves. The Creating IT Futures staff prepares you for your tomorrow. You placed a light on a path for us, and we won’t disappoint you.”