Commitment to Success

If graduate John, has just one secret to success, it’s commitment. After completing the Takoda Institute’s nine-month Computer Support training program, he quickly landed a job as a computer support technician and in less than three years, he worked his way up to a systems administrator position and now earns about double what an entry-level IT technician earns.

Before enrolling at the Takoda Institute, John was an auto mechanic. The physical demands of the job and the stress of owning a business began to take a toll on him, so he searched for a new career. “At that time it was really hard to find anything because I had been self-employed for so long,” he said. “I was my own boss and there was no one I could really use as a reference. It was difficult finding anything you could build on, a job that you could actually grow into.”

It seemed almost too good to be true when John found a flyer advertising the Takoda Institute’s Computer Support training program. “I’ve always been interested in computers. I started at a very expensive school some years back and it never really got me anywhere.” Once he began classes at the Takoda Institute, John found that the friendly environment and supportive staff made all the difference. “The instructors were amazing. They took time to sit down after class and walk me through things. It was probably the most fun I’ve had taking any kind of class or course.”

Changing careers from an auto mechanic to a job in information technology wasn’t a radically difficult switch for John. “The thought process is the same with the two. If you bring me your car and say, ‘my steering wheel shakes,’ I have to ask certain questions to troubleshoot what is wrong. From those answers, I ask more questions which eventually leads me to a solution. The same process is true for computers. It’s the same methodology.”

After getting his first job as a computer support technician, John developed a five-year plan for himself. His plan included skills he wanted to learn and the income he wished to attain. “I’m about 80% there,” said John. While working in his first position, he took every opportunity to further his education. His employer had training credits available that allowed him to take additional classes and become an expert at his company. This gave John enough skills to be offered a systems administrator position, where he has been ever since.

John is one of many graduates of the Takoda Institute who has successfully changed their career path. He offers this piece of advice to others considering a change, “you have to take the initiative. It’s your life.”

A Fresh Start

In June of 2016, Cory, a proud member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, graduated after successfully completing the Computer Support Program at Takoda Institute of Higher Education.

Prior to Takoda Institute, Cory had been taking care of his elderly mother while working at his previous job, which was physically straining and starting to take a toll on his body. He wanted to find a job that could provide advancement and financial security. Cory knew he needed a change and, with help from a caseworker at the Minnesota Workforce Center, decided that a post-secondary education was the solution.

While at Takoda, Cory remained focused on his education and learning exactly what he needed to know to excel. He found that the atmosphere at Takoda to be serious about education but also careful to avoid creating unnecessary stress for the students. Cory strived for excellence while at Takoda, determined to stand out to prospective employers.

When the opportunity for employment presented itself, Cory was eager and ready.  Kelly IT resources came to Takoda looking for individuals who were near graduation to fill open positions and Takoda Employees Chris Taguinod and David Zemler referred Cory for employment. Cory found this transition into employment seamless thanks in part to the internship he had during school.

Cory attributes to gaining employment with the help of David Zemler, from American Indian OIC Employment Services. David’s exemplary skills and dedication to his job and the students he works with contributed to Cory gaining employment.

“With his help, during my time at Takoda, is a major reason I got hired so quickly after I completed the program, and the things David taught me, will continue to serve me well into the future.”

Cory is now working as a Technical Support Technician offering product-specific software support through a publishing company. Cory’s position assists in the daily workflow; moving things along efficiently as possible in a fast-growing technical support department.

Cory’s advice to incoming students:

“Be efficient, productive, and constant in your awareness of what you set out to achieve.”