My Story: I was looking for anything IT related I possibly could because I knew I was good with computers but did not have the degree to prove it nor could I afford to put the money down on certifications. Every job I applied for I was told to get more experience and try back later. So when I was job searching I stumbled upon this too good to be true program called IT Ready Apprenticeship. At this point I decided it was well worth giving it a go so I applied only half expecting to get it but really hoping it was exactly what it sounded like. I received a call asking me to come in and take a quick test to evaluate some basic high school skills and then do some interviewing with representatives of the program. I explained my situation - no college degree/ no money/ lots of hands on computer skills but no experience, and how hard it was to find a job. I went through all of the basic testing and evaluating and was lucky enough to be able to spend my time speaking with each member that was running the program throughout the process. At this point I was excited to see what I could do with the program and very invested in entering. I kept asking them what the catch was but even to this day not a one has surfaced. I will never forget that first day where I began getting to know so many genuinely good classmates, mentors, and friends and for 8 weeks I was guided into what I can now happily refer to as my IT Career. Specifically, what I liked about the program: -I think the structure of the program itself was very well done -- there were never days where we had nothing to do or things felt stretched. I was always being jammed with new information despite my technical background. -Several get-to-know my classmates exercises was a phenomenal idea; rather that just diving into things. It made me much more comfortable and, I am sure I was not the only one, but many of us were able to work together outside of the program as well to answer questions and help one another network. -I also think that the interviewing skills we developed have been immensely helpful. I walk into interviews now and feel like a veteran and make it more of a conversation than I ever did before. -The additional certifications after the program are a godsend. Not only have I picked up my Network+, Security+, and Server+ through vouchers, I was given extensive training materials that were invaluable to my success. IT Ready for Me IT Ready has given me the confidence in my abilities and the desire to learn more and acquire more skills in every job I have obtained since. It totally changed my attitude -- I used to try and fix software and hardware with what I know and Google.com -- now I go through it methodically. Start basic and get more complicated; this approach has saved me countless times where coworkers have spent hours I have spent minutes. The interviewing skills are amazing and I feel confident before every interview because now I know what they look for. The additional certifications provided by the program have easily handed me my most recent job at Carle Hospital in Urbana Illinois, I know I would never have it without them and the vouchers. I would have been too afraid to spend the money to take each test. Above all IT Ready gave me a direction, I knew I wanted to do technical support, but now I have a career and I now know how to advance that career. I spent $80,000 on college and learned more from IT Ready than I did from college. This program has most definitely changed my life.
I've had the pleasure of working with dozens of graduates of this nonprofit's signature IT-Ready tech career training program, and lives literally are being changed for the better because of it. Folks who have been chronically under- or unemployed for years, through no fault of their own, are learning IT skills that allow them to secure positions that pay family-sustaining wages and offer the potential for advancement.
I attended the most recent IT-Ready Minneapolis / St. Paul graduation (Edina class, Summer 2017), hosted by Creating IT Futures. By the time of graduation, 5 out of the 15 students had already passed their CompTIA A+ exam. The remaining students were set to test over the following week.
Graduate and so-called "computer nerd" and gamer Hunter Geidl said the program "gave me a chance to expand on that interest and gain knowledge through everyone involved with the program. It brought us all here to learn together, grow together, and connect together.”
Graduate Tounang Her echoed Geidl’s sentiments when he said, "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.”
This summer, SLO County Office of Education, SLO Partners and Creating IT Futures embarked on a new career training and apprenticeship program to grow the tech workforce in the greater San Luis Obispo area of California.
With hundreds of applicants for 50 spots in the program, the three partners first launched two classes of Creating IT Futures’ IT-Ready career program. Each class trained toward CompTIA A+ certification. Plus, these two classes were underwritten by the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, so that each student received a stipend of $70 a day – a first for any IT-Ready program. The SLO County Office of Education was awarded funding through the California Apprenticeship Initiative.
After eight weeks of training, the first cohort graduated in September. Seventy percent of the students moved forward into the paid apprenticeship part of the program, with about half learning IT networking and security and the other half learning about software testing for six weeks. The apprentices then will begin a year of salaried, on-the-job training with local employers. The other 30 percent of the students were introduced to local employers for immediate job openings.
During the graduation, Amy Kardel, president and co-founder of Clever Ducks, a managed IT services provider based in San Luis Obispo, and chair of CompTIA, told the students, “If there’s a will, there’s a way. This industry allows you to learn every day. Welcome to our tech community.”
Graduate Madeline Gorge, who’s moving onto the networking and security apprenticeship track, remarked, “This class could have become a competitive environment, but instead we helped each other get better.”
Graduate Elissa Murray, who’s moving along to the same track as Gorge, echoed her sentiments, “We all pitched in to make us successful.”
Several students remarked on how inspiring and dedicated their teachers were. “I’ve had a blast. I didn’t realize how fun education can be,” said graduate and future apprentice Kevin Tran.
Graduate Justin Rucker summed up the program as “this is like the golden ticket.”
I attended the graduation of IT-Ready's first class of students in Charlotte. More than 800 people applied for the 8-week tech training program. Creating IT Futures selected 175 for in-person interviews and testing. A lucky 26 were offered spots in the program, and with the strict attendance policy enforced for the class, 23 made it to graduation. Eighteen of the 23 had earned their CompTIA A+ certification by their graduation, and the other five were expected to pass their certification shortly.
Graduate James Imes said he knew if he could get into the class, his life would change. “I love to read, learn and teach. Sometimes I would drive 50 miles to class and arrive with E on my gas tank, because I know if I could get here, I would be alright. This class became my support system,” said Imes.
Graduate Barbara Stephens recognized IT-Ready as a “once in a lifetime opportunity that could catapult her to the next level.”
“On the first day of class, I saw the other students as competition. Now I see us as a family and a community,” said graduate William Tolliver. “We all made these bonds in class and we’ll carry them with us forever.”
The individuals at Creating IT Futures have their hearts and heads in the right place. They care much more about BEING effective than SEEMING effective. That's why the lives they touch are changed for the better. Definitely an organization you can feel good supporting.
I have worked for several nonprofits in my day that do very good work. Creating IT Futures stands out because of the level to which it changes a person's life. Through its programs, CITFF finds people who need the help and who want to transform their world. After a lot of hard work on the part of the participant and CITFF staff, well-paying, upwardly mobile careers await. We know their methods work because the foundation stays in touch with alumni and participating employers. What more sustainable way to help families is there than creating new bread-winners? Sometimes it's hard to know if your nonprofit donation makes a difference. With CITFF, there is no doubt: You're changing lives for the better.
I met Vanessa Dalkha last year in IT-Ready, when she looked to return to the workforce as her daughter approached the end of 4th grade. After her IT-Ready graduation and getting her CompTIA A+ certification, she gained a job as an IT specialist with Hennepin County, the county government for Minneapolis. She tole me, “IT-Ready gave me the knowledge and confidence I needed to start a career that I hope will last for many years to come.”
I worked with Creating IT Futures on its IT-Ready program and one of the students, John Amakye, graduated two years also and since then his career has flourished. Now an application programmer with the City of Minneapolis, John recently earned his 10th tech certification across a variety of tech fields including networking, security and software development. He told me, “Being in IT has made me financially independent and allowed me to carve a pathway for myself that is professionally rewarding. I owe quite a bit of this
One of the students I worked with at Creating IT Futures recently told me her story of training with IT-Ready. Rashmi Bhattarai looked online for affordable IT programs where she could get that experience, and landed on IT-Ready, a free eight-week program that helps people get started in IT, earn entry-level technology certifications and find jobs right away.
“I felt like it was too good to be true,” she said. “I was really skeptical about having a job at the end of an eight-week course, and I was a little bit skeptical of the program. Eight weeks to learn CompTIA A+ material and two exams you have to pass? I don’t think so!”
Rashmi filled out an application, got an acceptance letter in the mail and was suddenly immersed in technology. She was studying with 25 other students, who quickly grew into a supportive group.
“IT-Ready created such a positive environment for the students to come in and learn and succeed that we wanted to help each other, no matter what level we were in,” she said.
Graduating from IT-Ready and passing the CompTIA A+ exam put Rashmi exactly where she wanted to be. “Now I have a paper that says I’m an IT technician, and now I can put this on my resume and I can move forward,” she said.
I am so proud to be associated with this organization. From inspiring our nation's youth to dream of a career in technology, to empowering adults with the training and tools they need to land fulfilling tech jobs, CITF is truly making a difference. I had the great honor of speaking at the graduation ceremonies of the Twin Cities first all women CITF class and was so moved by how their experience with CITF was transforming their lives. I met women who were homeless, some out of work for years, others finally pursuing their interest in tech. These women learned more than computer skills, and found more than a job. They learned a lot about themselves, and found their inner strength and confidence to handle and conquer any challenge and opportunity that came their way moving forward.
Every single individual on the the CITF team is exceptional. They are committed to their work and passionate about their mission. Technology is now driving virtually every industry It is the industry that quite possibly is having the greatest impact on our economy and society. The CITF team is working hard towards building a stronger and more diverse 21st Century technology workforce, helping the at risk and under-served realize lucrative careers - and experience the satisfaction and pride of being extremely productive members of society. I cannot say enough about all the good CITF is doing. Please considering donating today, offering internships to graduates of the IT Ready program or volunteering as a speaker. And make sure to let others know about the great work Creating IT Futures is doing.
I've been supporting Creating IT Futures for many years, and every year brings even more great stories and real world support. The combination of CompTIA, employer, and municipal support makes CITF a force to be reckoned with, and the innovation that's added on top makes for exciting times! The CEO really is a visionary, and he's built a team with a wide array of talents and focused passion for what they do.
The Creating It Futures Foundation has given me more than anything I've ever asked for. This program has opened the door for me and has prepared me for not only a job but a exciting career in Information Technology. The program itself was short (only 8 weeks) but during those 8 weeks I learned more about myself than any other type of schooling that I have been in before. The staff from top to bottom are genuinely interested in you as a person and they will give you the best advice possible. It is an amazing feeling to have been a part of this organization and I am confident that anyone who puts in 100% will only benefit from such a well organized program. Thank YOU Creating IT Future Foundation!
As a consultant, I have been involved in projects for the Creating IT Futures Foundation and its predecessor organization for more than a decade. So, I personally can vouch for the group's clarity of focus and dedication to progress. One need not look far or deep to see evidence of Creating IT Futures' impact. Just look at the faces of the people they help. See the energy unleashed. See the sparkle of success in the eyes of people with a new outlook on their careers.
The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has worked with Creating IT Futures Foundation (CIFF) for the past two years and it was truly a privilege. In the last two years, CIFF has created hundreds of IT experiences and work-based learning opportunities to youth interested in STEM. They started an internship program for high school students from the ground up and also laid the groundwork for a dynamic mentor program. The CIFF team went above and beyond to connect CPS to the greater STEM community and supported our efforts to grow our STEM program. They are very passionate, professional and dedicated to bringing meaningful work to the table and of course, creating a lasting impact for our youth and the City of Chicago.
The IT Ready program has become our pipeline for new employees within our Service Desk or Desktop Support teams. We have employed 12 interns and have offered full-time employment to almost all of them. These candidates are appealing because in addition to arriving with a good base of technical knowledge; they have also been trained on soft skills and accountability. They are engaged, reliable and all have the desire to learn and grow within our organization. It's been a great partnership for us. - Becky Ryan, HealthPartners
I had the honor to attend a graduation in MN for Creating IT Futures. CITF helped this class graduate passing various IT certification exams and jump start their career in tech. This class varied from those who had possibly taken the wrong career path to those simply struggling to find work and get out of their own predicament. At graduation, the class was emotional to have made it to graduation and grateful for the staff and their classmates that pushed them along the way. It was inspiring to hear about these 'students' hardships and struggles and how CITF, this program that sounded 'to good to be true', has given them hope and encouragement. I left encouraged not only by the students but also by the CITF staff that had worked tirelessly to help these students pass tests, find jobs and succeed in this demanding field all while creating an optimistic and nurturing atmosphere.
I've been working some warehouse position with what seemed like a road to no where. When I first heard about this IT-Ready Program by the Creating IT Futures Foundation I knew that this was something that I needed to pursue. I have been surrounded by individuals who they themselves are skilled with computer repair and troubleshooting, but they never shared it with me. It wasn't I started to talk with my brother in law that the Idea of a career in the IT industry soon sprouted in my mind. This was an industry that is only going to increase and a workforce that will need fresh minds and those with a willing attitude. The Program was certainly difficult, but the best things in life are not accomplished nor received without a bit of effort put forth. Although I currently do not hold an IT job, completing the program has enabled me to further my reach in jobs that i wasn't qualified for a year ago. Now, I can be considered a candidate for the IT industry, and i welcome what the future holds for me.
One of the best 8 week stints of my life, thanks to this organization. They put a lot into making this a good program. The staff is beyond good. They care about what they do and that energy rubs off on everyone. I was so blessed to be apart of this program. IT Ready for life!!!!
Staff are extremely helpful, our instructor is the most knowledgeable person I know and is an amazing source to everything we are learning.
IT Ready offers a quality training experience for students looking to enter the IT field. The City of Minneapolis has hired IT ready graduates has been very happy with the skills and level of preparedness their graduates bring to the job.
I like to think that I am tech savvy but wow did Creating IT Futures Foundation prove me wrong. There was and is so much to IT that I can't even comprehend. I am grateful for the Creating IT Futures Foundation for giving me more knowledge and a chance to start my career in the IT field. Even though the class was only 2 months it was the most knowledgeable two months of my life. Thank you very much!!