Clarence Carter relocated to Chicago from Indiana early last year. He faced several challenges upon moving to a new city – the first was finding a job, and the second was finding a place to live. Upon his arrival, Clarence lived in numerous homeless shelters. In effort to afford a stable living environment, Clarence came to National Able Network, where he enrolled in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act with the hope of finding a career in Information Technology.

“I filled out between 20 and 25 applications within a week or so before I came to National Able Network, and all I got in response was: ‘Thank you for applying’,” said Clarence. “Someone told me that with a technology certification I would get more companies and recruiters interested.” With this information, Clarence chose to enroll in IT Career Lab and receive a globally recognized technology certification! 

Along with attending IT Career Lab classes, Clarence also participated in the JUMPSTART training program where he gained job search skills including maximizing his resume and fine-tuning his interview skills. Clarence also worked with National Able Network Career Coach, Shawn McKenzie. “[Shawn] was very energetic as far as trying to help in whatever way he could. He was helpful and had an energy and spirit to help me out,” Clarence said.

In just a few months, Clarence earned his Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification! According to Clarence’s Career Coach, Shawn, even though Clarence battled with homelessness, he still managed to succeed in IT Career Lab! “Despite spending every night worried he would not be allowed into the shelter due to overcrowding and faced with having to find another shelter or sleep outside; Clarence successfully completed the Cisco training!”

After earning his CCENT, Clarence began receiving more responses from employers! “Once people saw that I got that certification, I haven’t received any of those ‘Thank you for applying’ emails,” said Clarence. “I’ve had way more interviews than I initially had before I came to Chicago. It’s happening!”

Clarence, who found full-time employment as a Help Desk Representative, said, “If others are “techy”, like me, I would definitely recommend IT Career Lab! Stick to it, complete it and everything will work out. The doors will open up. You just have to be patient.”

Congrats, Clarence!

If you, or someone you know, is interested in starting a career in technology, IT Career Lab can help! Click here to learn more!