Designing a New Career After the Recession Story Image

Designing a New Career After the Recession

Jason Scerena graduated f... +
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Date: 02/27/2019
Pathway: Information Technology
Program: EPIC
Location of Service: 60613-1278

Jason Scerena graduated from the Illinois Institute of Art with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Art and Animation in 2008. Upon graduation, he quickly began an internship with a corporation that closed just as quickly because the economic recession was in full swing. Jason proceeded to work in graphic design and art, taking freelance opportunities to make his way. As time went on, Jason felt discouraged that he could not find full-time work and had to pursue other options. He received a flyer for National Able Network’s Employment Opportunities, Personalized Services, Individualized Training, Career Planning (EPIC) Program and began what would be a new career pivot.

Upon meeting with his career coach, Kelsey Briggs-Dineen, he participated in intensive career exploration. During this time, he saw one industry that had tons of career positions and provided job security – information technology. Jason enrolled in IT Career Lab, and earned the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certification and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certification.

Upon earning these certificates, Jason applied and interviewed for a paid work experience with National Able Network  – a position that was only supposed to last for six months. Jason was hired and the six month term continued to be extended which allowed Jason a wonderful opportunity for training, learning, and experience.

During this period, Jason worked with his career coach and with IT Career Lab Account Manager, Jon Kimmel, to edit his resume and properly reflect his new skills and career goals. “The real challenge for me was not knowing what to put into the resume,” says Jason, “I had plenty of design and multimedia experience, so I had a great resume in that respect, but I got two certifications from ITCL so I didn’t know how to build a whole resume just based on that.”

Ultimately, with help from Kelsey and Jon, Jason decided to break down his resume into skill sets by using industry terminology. With Jason’s new resume ready to go, Jon connected him to many new opportunities and it was through one of these connections that Jason found his next move. Jason is employed as i-Manage’s Technical Support Engineer!

Jason shares the following advice for success to future IT Career Lab students, “Having faith in the program, having self-discipline when you’re in IT Career Lab…It’s important to dedicate yourself to the program. Sixteen weeks go by quickly. It’s a short amount of time once you’ve done it. It’s a matter of working with the resources that National Able Network has, so staying in touch with your career coach and everyone there whose mission it is to see you succeed.”