Steven Scholtes had always dreamed of working in the information technology (IT) industry, but for years he worked in the retail and restaurant industries to get by. That didn’t last. “I had a job dishwashing and cooking in a restaurant, and then my hours got cut and I ended up having to go to the Department of Human Services [DHS] for help,” Steven said.

Through DHS, Steven was connected to National Able Network’s (Able) Employment Opportunities, Personalized Services, Individualized Training, Career Planning (EPIC) program, which evaluated his IT knowledge and determined what kind of help he would need to complete his training.

“Stephen was able to join the IT Career Lab program and earn his Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT) certification,” says to his career coach. To support himself as he completed the program, Steven continued to work at a pizza shop.

“Through the program, I was also offered a paid internship working with National Able Network and I was able to do some helpdesk work,” Steven said. After his internship ended, Steven found an employment opportunity in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s IT department. He excelled at both interview rounds and got the job!

“Everyone I’ve worked with at this company has moved up, so there is a lot of progression,” Steven said. He also had some advice for other career changers and job seekers: “Do exactly what I did. It changed my life.