When Keith Tody began looking for employment at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic he attended a fair at Truman College on Chicago’s north side. There, he met Elliott Esparza from National Able Network (Able), who told Keith about IT Career Lab, Able’s technology training program.

“He talked to me about IT Career Lab, and the CCNA [Cisco Certified Networking Associate] classes, and WIOA [Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act] and was sort of the step to getting there,” Keith said.

“Ever since high school I’ve taken classes in technology, electronics, and telecommunications,” Keith said. “I was always self-taught.” However, Keith was interested in taking classes that would help him achieve the CCNA certification, a certification that is often the first step towards entering the IT industry. He took a training placement exam and enrolled in classes.

According to his career coach, Carey Goldenberg, Keith has successfully passed exams that include Introduction to Networks, Switching Routing and Wireless Essentials and Enterprise Networking, and Security and Automation. He is well on his way to passing the CCNA certification exam!

While Keith is on track to earn his CCNA, he was able to successfully find employment in the IT industry, fulfilling a lifelong dream. “I’m really excited about my new employer,” Keith said.” I connected with them through LinkedIn and I’m really excited because it’s all the same stuff I’ve been doing except I’m making 10 dollars more per hour.”

“Keith overcame his natural shyness and blossomed with confidence and self-assuredness,” Carey said.

As for other job seekers who want to advance their careers, Keith has some advice, “The WIOA grant is an amazing resource. If you want to start things over, the WIOA grant is perfect.”