Uri Saenz, who was born in Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in Chicago, came to National Able Network with the mission to get his career back on track. Although only in his 20’s Uri had already accomplished plenty – from graduating college with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Economics to working in marketing research to owning his own business to purchasing his very own ranch in Mexico. Uri is a well-rounded individual with an array of passions, so when coming to National Able Network he sought some guidance on entering a new field and finding employment within that field – he achieved that, and so much more.
Most recently before becoming a National Able Network client, Uri owned and operated a luxury automotive and detailing company. His business was so successful that a local competitor offered to purchase the company. Although Uri did not consider it at first, circumstances in his personal life changed, and Uri decided he wanted a fresh start. He went through with the sale, returned to Mexico, and spent time on his ranch. Almost a year and a half later, while walking through the mountainside, Uri felt it was the right time to dive all-in and pursue his career dream of being in the Information Technology (IT) field.
Upon his return to Chicago, Uri attempted to find employment, although it was difficult, especially because of the gap on his resume, so he applied for several programs with National Able Network, including: Employment Opportunities, Personalized Services, Individualized Training, Career Planning (EPIC), Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and IT Career Lab. Luckily, Uri was eligible and suitable for all three! He had experience fixing computers, working with java, and telecom, so he got to work with his career coach Kelsey Briggs-Dineen, and revised his resume. During this time, Uri began to study to for his certifications from IT Career Lab.
“I had to be open. Kelsey helped me understand my skills, like time management. I was learning to embrace the abyss, learning to trust in the guidance. Kelsey was on my behind every day and was the main reason I trusted the program,” says Uri. Upon completion of IT Career Lab, Uri earned the following certifications: Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA), Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT), and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA.) Eventually, an IT Specialist position opened up within National Able Network’s IT department, Uri applied and was hired! When reflecting on his career and how National Able Network was helpful throughout his path thus far, Uri says “I have been able to achieve the American Dream.”
I didn’t have a clear direction. I was stuck in limbo, demotivated. I was working in banking and I liked it for a while, but eventually I found the job to be just empty. I was feeling lost and confused.
I was about to lose my SNAP benefits. It was a wake-up call to me. Why was I fighting to keep these benefits when I was able to work? I was ready to make a change for the better.
I wanted to get back in the professional world. When I first heard of EPIC and the program Cara offered I thought ‘Ooh, I could do this.’
My first day was a Monday and we started with morning Motivations. I was like ‘What is going on here?’ It took some adjusting to the energy and the challenges that were presented to me...but by the next Monday, I was all in.
I learned I needed to change my behavior. At the time, I didn‘t realize that having the same negative behaviors were never going to lead to anything positive. I needed to start seeing things differently if I was ever going to grow.
The first time I put on a suit again I was like, ‘Okay, you’re back.’ I found that joy again and I realized I could do this.
I knew coming to Cara was the right thing. I learned how to stay strong and stay committed, because I knew something better was coming for me.
Today I‘m happy, I’m much more confident and feel I’m happy in the space I’m in now. I loved Cara so much I applied for and got a job at its South Side campus. Now I look forward to going to work each morning.
I love talking to people and sharing my story with the Cara students I now see on a daily basis. If I can motivate someone who is coming from a similar space that I was in, than I made a difference in someone and that means the world to me.