Fernando Escalente was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico and moved to Chicago at a young age. His family has a long linage of working professionals in both business and education. With these genes, Fernando, from a young age, began to show glimmers of excellence in both! He had the knowledge and patience to help family and friends with all types of technology, from VHS players to wireless modems. It was through this tech hobby that Fernando earned money, and this entrepreneurial streak followed him into adulthood.

He attended DeVry University and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Management. Fernando went on to work at Mondelez International as a utility operator for more than four years. Unfortunately, life struck two tough blows to Fernando within a matter of days. First, Fernando’s father passed away, and one week later, he received news that Mondelez was laying off hundreds of employees. This was a very difficult and challenging time, but Fernando chose to persevere.

           Fernando Escalente

After being laid off, Fernando came to National Able Network and was eligible to receive extended unemployment benefits through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. Through TAA, Fernando discovered IT Career Lab, National Able Network’s technology training academy. As a lifelong tech hobbyist, Fernando was immediately drawn in. He had the motivation and the know-how, but he needed the certifications – so, he got to work!

With the guidance of Program Manager Donna Claxton and Account Manager Jonathan Kimmel, Fernando quickly picked up the IT skills he needed to advance his career through the certifications offered at IT Career Lab. “There were a lot of transferred skills because my college degree offered business and IT education,” said Fernando. “The courses [at IT Career Lab] weren’t too long, and weren’t too short. They were just right! Other schools might have shorter courses, but are you learning as much? Other programs are longer, but if you are unemployed, your time is important. The time frame was just right at IT Career Lab.”

Through IT Career Lab, Fernando earned both the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) and the Cisco Certified Entry Networking Technician (CCENT) certifications! After graduation, we found a career as the Associate Wireless Engineer for Sentinel Technologies.

Fernando is grateful for all of the help both Donna and Jon provided throughout his time at National Able Network. When asked what he would tell Donna and Jon now that he is working full-time in IT, Fernando said, “[I would tell them] I’m doing it, I’m doing it! But, just because I’m doing it, doesn’t mean that I’m stopping. I’ll always keep practicing, learning and going.”

If you’re interested in a career in Information Technology, IT Career Lab can help! Click here to register for an upcoming information session today!