Does a student need prior IT knowledge to enroll?

Prior knowledge is not required, but a high interest in the field is necessary. The IT Career Lab student should also have a drive to succeed and be able to dedicate their time to studies and exams for the full duration of the class. Students must have either a Bachelors Degree or higher, or  have scored at least a 9.0 minimum on their TABE Reading exam (10.0 preferred), and an 8.0 minimum on their TABE Mathematics exam (9.0 preferred).

Does the training program offer internships and/or job placement assistance?

Internships are something the academy continuously works to provide with companies in the Chicago-land area. While we do not have  guaranteed internships to place every student, we have had several participants placed as interns to gain hands-on experience. We also have a strong management team working in the students favor to send job leads and notifications of opportunities. Based on students performance, resumes are passed along to employers and references can be made on their behalf by IT Career Lab staff. All alumni continue to receive these leads upon training completion.

How do I get started?

To learn more or to get started at IT Career Lab, please contact Elliot Esparza at 312-994-4263 or eesparza@nationalable.org

How much does the program cost?

The training program costs $9,000.00. Many times students qualify for government funding assistance through either the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) or Trade Adjustment Act (TAA). As individuals are referred to workforce centers in the Chicagoland area, i.e., National Able Network, it is there where the determination is made if the individual qualifies for the above-mentioned funding. The IT Career Lab is also approved to accept Post 9-11 GI funding if applicable to our servicemen and women.

Is it possible to sit in a class and/or meet the instructor before enrolling?

Yes. We encourage all prospective students to visit our facility prior to enrollment. Our state-of-the-art classroom equipped with new desktops, private work stations and clear, overhead projection are something we are very proud of. Our certified Cisco instructors are very open to meeting students and sharing the classroom with those interested in determining if the IT Career Lab is the best fit for their needs.

Is the program accessible by public transportation?

Yes. Our building is conveniently located at the corner of Lake and Clinton Streets in the South Loop of Chicago, in the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) building. The El train, (Green and Pink lines), runs directly in front of the building, with a stop at Clinton; it is wheelchair accessible. Students may also utilize the CTAs bus line, in which they can board and exit in front of the building.

Is the program flexible enough so that a student could work and also attend classes?

Yes, the program meets three times a week (2 full days, and half day on Fridays. With proper time management and a flexible work schedule, working while attending training is possible.

Is the program offered during various times and/or on weekends?

Currently the program is offered during the day on a rotating schedule of three times per week, either Monday/Wednesday classes or Tuesday/Thursday classes, and Fridays for 4 hours. In general class meets from 9am to 4pm on the full days, and 9am to 1pm on Fridays.

What is the most up-to-date local labor market information for this field?

According to the United States Department of Labor, Computer Network Support Specialists and Network and Computer System Administrators are in very high demand. This field is projected to grow in Illinois +13%, and Nationally +18% between 2010 and 2020, respectively. Please visit www.onetonline.org and use codes 15-1142 & 15-1152 for further information.

What is the program completion rate?

Our current completion rate stands at 86%. Life issues and full-time employment can sometimes hinder a full completion.

What kinds of certifications are available through the program?

There are several certifications you may receive upon completion. The three main certifications are Cisco Certified Entry Network Technician (CCENT), Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate: Windows 10 (MCSA), and Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP). Successful completion of all 4 semesters will allow you to receive a Certificate of Completion from the Cisco Academy, as well as a Certificate of Completion from Able Career Institute.

What makes IT Career Lab different from other training programs in the Chicago area?
  • As a student of IT Career Lab you will have access to a live Cisco lab training environment in the classroom, using both blended and hands-on materials.Our equipment on site allows students to apply their knowledge as they progress through materials and certification exams. This can also provide invaluable personal branding as students begin to interview for employment with their new certifications.
  • Possibility of earning 3 nationally recognized IT certifications
  • Unique to IT Career Lab is the Career Readiness training. Students will be required to attend workshops gauged to assist in finding employment. Topics include how to create an effective resume, proper interviewing techniques, mock interviewing, application tracking systems and social media for an effective job searching.
  • Students are also given a brand new laptop to use while in training. Upon successful completion of the program, the laptop is theirs to keep.
  • IT Career Lab offers specific sessions during training for certification preparation purposes, complete with practice assessment questions and dedicated classroom usage