I love working with computers. It’s my passion. Someday I hope to have a gainful career in IT. My position could be something as simple as a workstation technician or as high-level as a Network Systems Manager. However, without any formal certifications or scholastic accreditations, I’m finding it difficult to find work even as a warehouse associate or grocery store clerk.
Ever since I took time off work in September of 2018 due to a back injury, things have not gone well at all. My employer at the time would not allow me to take a leave of absence since I had not been with the company for 6 months yet (which means I was not eligible for FMLA). They suggested I resign my position and then reapply when I was better. I did so in October when I was ready to return to work, but they would not rehire me and did not give a reason why. I ended up applying at 9 other locations with the company, receiving interviews at 3, and never hearing from any of them again. This is when I sent out applications to practically every employer in Chicago.
When I am honest on my application or in person about not being able to find work, most employers don’t seem to want to contact me back. I even had one tell me I was “overqualified” for the position, so she canceled my interview. Another simply said, “We don’t even have an IT department, so this may not be a good fit for you.” Even though I had made it clear I was applying for an order-filler position, explaining to her that my passion was in IT may have been a mistake. I just want to be honest with people, but that seems to be hurting me more than it is helping.
I have not been able to afford rent since November. This means I am now behind almost 6 months. The only reason I have not been forcibly removed yet is that the building recently changed ownership and the new property managers were required to start the eviction process over again. I have done my best to use this time wisely and have been working freelance IT jobs to cover my utilities, phone, and internet bills, but it has never been enough to cover rent.
Last week I discovered a program in Chicago through the National Able Network, Inc. that will utilize what’s known as the WIAO (Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act) which will cover all of my expenses to take a 16-week IT career lab in the heart of Chicago (ITCareerLab.org). 16 weeks certifies a participant for CCENT, CCNA, MCP, and MCSA, which is more than enough to start a strong career with. The program has a 93% completion rate with 96% of participants earning one or more certifications and 3/4 of unemployed participants finding careers during training or immediately after completion. The program assigns a career coach who helps with resumes, interviews, preparation, and anything else a prospective candidate can ask for… at absolutely NO COST to the participant. It is everything I could possibly ask for.
The course starts in April and will go until August. This means I will have to find part-time work before I start class and work as much as I can while I attend 20 hours of classes a week for 16 weeks. Until then, the apartment has me for $6,000. They will do everything they can to see that I am out as soon as possible. Since I am 41 years old and have no friends near me who can help, I am posting this plea in the hopes that someone out there can help me to stave off homelessness. I have had some great suggestions like finding lower rent housing and moving in with several others, but I have zero money to do this with and cannot do so while facing an eviction. That has to be taken care of before I can look for other housing.
I have a chance to do something for myself that will finally allow me to be a productive member of society in a way that will matter and in a field I love. Please help to make this a reality. I firmly believe in paying it forward and will happily help the next person who needs assistance when the time comes for me to be in a position to help others. It pains me to beg for help in a semi-anonymous fashion. But I do trust there are those out there who are as altruistic as I am.