Goodwill Columbus Hosts John Husted at Tech Fiesta

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

On Monday, July 15, Lt. Governor Jon Husted visited Goodwill Columbus for the organizations “IT Fiesta” event, where youth interested in IT careers were able to check out the organization’s educational offerings, see live tech demonstrations and mingle with current and former students and prospective employers.

“Our Careers in Technology program is a critical link connecting young people needing career direction and education and employers looking for work-ready employees,” said Careers in Technology Program Consultant Patrick Maks. “An educated and tech-savvy workforce is absolutely critical to the health of the economy, and Goodwill Columbus is on the leading-edge helping youth get the credentials they need to get on the path to a career in IT. We were thrilled that the Lt. Gov. took time out of his incredibly busy schedule to visit with our students and staff and learn more about the program.”

The Goodwill Careers in Technology CompTIA is a ten-week A+ certification program for youth age 17-29. The A+ certification, offered at no cost to students thanks to a U.S. Department of Labor grant, is an essential component for a career in IT and is recognized worldwide by companies such as Dell, Canon and the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Goodwill is the connecting point for the diverse populations we want to engage in education, and is a connecting point for employers so that we can help them engage with a well-prepared and educated workforce,” said Goodwill President and CEO Margie Pizzuti. “We have a strong connection to diverse populations and are dedicated to serving them and their potential and current employers.”

Sequez Hayden, a returning student and speaker at the event, said he knew last year he had to make a change. A new dad, he envisioned a future for his daughter that included stability and security, but a recent employment loss had put all of that at risk. The job leads he got were going nowhere, and he found he had not been unemployed ‘long enough’ to qualify for a local IT training program he was interested in. “To start over was challenging, but I had a new daughter that Christmas and it was time to look into a career that could support my new family,” he said.

While still enrolled in the A+ certification class, Saquez was introduced to potential employers and at the completion of the course was hired on to a State of Ohio contract IT position and later obtained fulltime permanent employment with local tech company PCM. “Goodwill helped me to get my foot in the door with two great employers,” he said. “I could not have done that on my own. Taking the A+ certification can be a life-changing experience. I was opened up to a whole new job market and pay grade. The content from the course has really helped to support me in my current role and learning the different ways to work the systems most definitely helps out.”

Rebecca Ferrell was severely disabled in an accident and was struggling to heal and get back on her feet. CiT turned out to be the answer for her as well. “When life tried to get in the way of my growth and education, Goodwill worked to provide me answers,” said Rebecca. “No matter the roadblock I encountered, they meet me halfway. They helped to structure the program so that I could be successful.”

Today, Rebecca is on the IT frontline helping her business clients with heir peripheral devices. “It would not be possible have this job without the A+ certification,” she said. “It shows a company you know your stuff.”

During the event, the Lt. Gov. tried his hand at student-led demonstrations including breaking down a hard drive; learned about Emergent Technologies including 3D Printing Raspberry Pi/Arduino and Robotics; Programming and Intro to Scripting, and Cybersecurity.

Also attending the July event were representatives from multiple business, education and human services organizations including Goodwill Industries International, Franklin University, Focus Learning Academy, Flex High School, the Ohio Dept. Of Higher Education, the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio, the Office of Workforce Transformation, JobsOhio, Opportunities for Ohioans With Disabilities, Department of Developmental Disabilities, the Workforce Development Board of Central Ohio, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Nationwide, PCM, Jewish Family Services, Ohio Association of Goodwills, Alvis, The Human Service Chamber and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

For more information about how your business can become an employer-partner of Goodwill Columbus, contact Patrick Maks at Patrick.Maks@ gwcols.com.

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