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Military spouse empowered to pursue new career field with online CompTIA A+ certification training

As the wife of a wounded veteran and mother of five young children, Nicole Woods has faced challenges in recent years when pursuing her career development.

While her husband Torino served in the Army, Nicole left the workforce for six years to be a stay-at-home mom. Her responsibilities at home increased when Torino sustained a non-combat injury on deployment in Germany that resulted in his medical retirement. Torino made the unexpected transition to the civilian workforce; Nicole subsequently carried the weight of their family’s needs; and her career often came second.

Nicole ultimately returned to the workforce and recently acquired her real estate license. But with the volatile nature of that industry, Nicole said, she was still in search of something more to develop her career and support her family.

So, when Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) informed her that, through a partnership with Creating IT Futures, there was a technical support training program available for those looking to enter the information technology sector, she enthusiastically enrolled. Creating IT Futures is a workforce charity founded by CompTIA, a worldwide nonprofit IT trade association. Creating IT Futures’ training programs are designed to help people who typically are under-represented in the tech industry, including veterans, displaced or underemployed workers, people of color, and women.

Unable to attend the classroom-based version of the course due to her childcare responsibilities at home, Nicole found the virtual option with Creating IT Futures to be a perfect opportunity.

“It was such a relief,” she said. “I was so grateful that they recognized how beneficial that would be for some of us.”

With a generous grant from the Cognizant U.S. Foundation, WWP and Creating IT Futures are partnering to offer the WWP CompTIA A+ training program. Available to qualifying wounded veterans and their families at no cost, the 12-week online training includes 180 hours of instruction. The training ranges from tech instruction on operating system installation and upgrades to soft skills training on workplace etiquette and customer service. The program also provides the opportunity to test for a CompTIA A+ certification, which strongly qualifies a person for a first job on an IT helpdesk.

Nicole graduated from the inaugural technical support online class with 55 other wounded veterans and their family members in August 2019.

“Being a part of this cohort has allowed me to market myself in a career field I never considered, broadening my skill set and working with a team dedicated to my success,” Nicole said. “The experience was truly priceless, and I’m so very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a beneficial program.”

With the WWP CompTIA A+ training program, veterans and their family members of all occupational backgrounds and life experiences can be trained quickly to successfully enter the IT workforce – even if they don't have prior IT experience. A high school diploma or GED combined with the right attitude and aptitude are the basic requirements to get started.

The program additionally includes the support of WWP’s career counseling program, which connects graduates to employers.

"The WWP CompTIA A+ training program is providing warriors and their family members the critical skills and training that employers are seeking in the information technology sector," said Tom Kastner, WWP financial wellness vice president. "This partnership exemplifies Wounded Warrior Project's commitment to helping wounded veterans and their families achieve their highest ambitions. When they're ready to start their next mission, we stand ready to serve."

Overall, Nicole is thankful for the support of both WWP and Creating IT Futures throughout her journey.

“Organizations like Wounded Warrior Project and Creating IT Futures that form an alliance to reach service members is amazing in itself,” Nicole said. “But when they make the effort to include the spouses in the fold, you see where the real life-changing events occur.”

Prospective WWP members can apply for upcoming classes at https://studentportal.comptiatech.org/.

This article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of G.I. Jobs magazine. Read it HERE.


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