Graduate Jacob Finds Balance with New Job in Tech

Fifteen years in the restaurant service industry provided plenty to Jacob. Management skills, customer service savvy any employer would vie for, and–he met his wife. There were certainly a lot of positives, but Jacob was acutely aware he had to move on to find a career that could provide more fulfillment to him. Most importantly, he needed a career that could provide more to his family, which included two sons in addition to his wife. Working nights and weekends as the service industry demands doesn’t allow for family time around the dinner table or weekends for exploring. He was missing out on what mattered most to him.

Jacob always had a love for computers and technology. He knew that the technology sector had an abundance of opportunity for stable employment with good pay and high growth potential. He struggled, though, to turn that interest into a job.

In his early 20s, Jacob enrolled at a for-profit tech school. After almost two years he began to receive letters demanding payment on a $36,000 loan for the tuition, a surprise to him. The financial obligation was not explicitly outlined to him at the start of the program. That’s when the restaurant job became the go-to fallback to begin paying off the student loans. He would work 50 hours or more a week to keep up.

He made his second attempt to begin a professional career and completed his Associate’s degree a few years later. Continuing the job search, the only offers he received were service industry work despite the added credential. Nothing changed.

When visiting a Kentucky employment office, a representative handed Jacob a flyer outlining a program that provided free IT courses, career development, job placement, and CompTIA A+ certification. He was sold at the words “free” and “certification.” He had found Per Scholas.

At Per Scholas, Jacob thrived. He finished top of his class as Valedictorian and had a job waiting for him before he graduated with Per Scholas partner Pomeroy. He began his job as a Service Desk Analyst working on a client site, Proctor & Gamble, providing tech support at several of their campuses. In his role, P&G employees bring their computers to him and he solve issues like hardware repairs, Office and Outlook troubleshooting, networking repairs and the migration of software and files to newer technology replacement computers. He’s great as his job.

Let’s all be honest. IT professionals have a bad reputation for customer service skills. We can confirm this because all of our employer partners express customer service skills being more important than technical aptitude. Think about a waiter who you tipped generously? Now imagine that exceptional service when it comes to upgrading your phone or computer. Yeah, we’d love that, too. All those years in the service industry have served Jacob very well on the job.

The biggest advantage of his full-time job at Pomeroy is the stability that the 9-to-5 schedule offers him and his family, which now includes a baby boy born in October 2014.

“I’m home by dinner time every night. In the service industry, you never get those things,” he says. “I’m planning a family vacation for the summer. That’s never happened in my adult working life. It’s a really nice change.”

At Per Scholas we can often get distracted focusing only on the student impact — how many graduate, how many land a job, and what are the average salaries. What we can easily forget is the impact these new jobs and new salaries have on the quality of life and quality of family. Jacob is a wonderful reminder of the real impact.

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