Success Story for Andre Jones

Andre Jones

Andre Jones graduated from college in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic’s disruption to our economy. With a bachelor's degree in business with a concentration in information technology (IT) in hand, Andre felt ready to jump into his dream job as a network administrator. More than 50 applications in, Andre got interviews, even second interviews, but no job offers. He was paying bills with two part-time, low-wage jobs stocking grocery store shelves and tutoring kids for the local school district. But one day, a casual conversation while standing in line at Big Lots changed everything. A fellow customer mentioned an IT pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship program in the area. Excited, Andre reached out the next day to Pastor Randi Francis, CEO and President of the Nehemiah Community Empowerment Center in Greensboro, North Carolina—and found himself at last on a path to his dream career.

The Nehemiah Community Empowerment Center's mission is to decrease the educational inequity and financial and social disparities that exist in society and the workforce today. Their goal is to develop a more diverse and qualified workforce for the 5 million science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and IT jobs available in the United States, through providing an IT-focused pre-apprenticeship program, acting as an intermediary sponsor for IT Registered Apprenticeship Programs for three employers in their area, and offering a full array of wraparound services to help all apprentices succeed.

Andre Jones

Andre took part in the Nehemiah Center’s pre-apprenticeship program, an eight-week program that filled an important gap in his résumé by providing hands-on IT project experience with different employers. He then was hired by the Nehemiah Center as a computer support specialist apprentice, where he obtained a Registered Apprenticeship certificate in computer support specialist/help desk technician and CompTIA certification in IT fundamentals. From there, Andre was able to take the next step on his career ladder: he got promoted to become an apprentice again—this time for his dream job as a network administrator. All this, he says, involved no costs for the training and additional certifications and included a support system that’s “set up for you to succeed.”

“Apprenticeship made my goals more attainable,” says Andre. “At one point, I didn’t know how I would get there. When I found the Registered Apprenticeship Program, it gave me a sense of confidence that it was attainable. It was a pipeline. Nehemiah was a window of opportunity to show what I am made of. They gave me the time, information, work experience, and certifications I needed to get into my field.”

For employers considering apprenticeship, Pastor Randi can’t say enough good things.  “Apprenticeship allows you to mold and shape the person and build them up as a leader in the company and give them a chance to build themselves up; you’re developing someone you’re able to groom specifically for your organization. Then you’ll have someone we call your ‘ride or die’—someone who is loyal to your company.”

Publish Date: 02/13/2024

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