Making an Impact: Grant Helps Pay for IT Training

In the Making an Impact series, clients and services are featured to expand awareness of the wide array of help available at JFS and to ensure donors understand the lives they touch and the difference they make throughout the community. Names have been changed to protect privacy.

Suliman came to this country from East Africa with his family when he was a young child. He earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Minnesota.

He had been working very hard for about two years in one of the Twin Cities strong social service programs. His pay was modest, but he was great with his youthful clients, and he found the work fulfilling. He usually worked extra hours that allowed him to make ends meet.

Suliman had excelled academically, had a “go-getter” demeanor and drive, and was a creative thinker. He realized at this point in his work and life that he was ready to reach for something more challenging with better financial opportunities. But he didn’t yet know what direction he wanted to pursue. On a friend’s recommendation, he contacted JFS.

When he started working with the JFS employment specialist, they explored a variety of potential career directions. They brainstormed together and researched different career possibilities that would good options for him with stronger financial compensation. They also started reviewing immediate, online job postings to see if any appealed to him. He found several professional possibilities that he liked, and they worked together on rewriting his resume and cover letters to emphasize his transferrable skills to new fields and to target these specific jobs.

After a few months of exploratory job searching, he realized that he wanted to pursue an IT career. He knew he would need additional training to move in that direction. He found a local program that would lead to several key IT certifications in less than nine months of part-time study, allowing him to continue working while he studied. But this program was expensive. The school was willing to work out a reasonable student-loan type of repayment plan with Suliman for most of the fees and tuition that he gladly accepted. However, they also required a $1500 down-payment, which he did not have. JFS provided a $1500 grant to cover his training down payment. He was able to start his IT classes right away.

He proved to be a quick and enthusiastic learner. It took him longer than he had anticipated to complete his training because of various COVID-related school interruptions. But he kept focused on his goals and ultimately completed his key IT certifications. With the job search skills he gained through both JFS and his IT institute, he successfully landed his first solid, high-paying job in this field.

He and the JFS employment specialist formed a long and enduring relationship across the years they worked together.