Fifteen Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) students recently graduated from an intensive CISCO certification program offered through a partnership between BMCC’s Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development and the non-profit IT training organization, Per Scholas.
The graduation was held November 18 at Per Scholas in the Bronx, and celebrated the students’ completion of an 18-week program which included two CISCO technical training sessions as well as employment coaching.
The event's Keynote Speaker was Larry Sookchanand, Vice President of Network Solutions Delivery for Barclays Bank. Ivan Rivera, an alumnus of the program who works at Barclays as a Global Technical Information Systems Apprentice, also spoke.
Welcome remarks were delivered by Craig Rosenberg, Director of Career Development and Technical Training Services at Per Scholas and Sunil Gupta, Dean of The Center for Continuing Ecucation and Workforce Development at BMCC congratulated the graduates.
Technical Instructors Eduardo Hernandez and Christopher Viteritti presented certificates to the graduates. Tiernan Walsh, Director of Corporate Staffing at Per Scholas, spoke of the program’s core values and Linda Quinones-Lopez, Vice President of New Training Initiatives at Per Scholas, delivered closing remarks.
"The impact of the work Per Scholas and BMCC have collaborated on over the past two years has changed the lives of our graduates," said Quinones-Lopez. "I was inspired by Ivan Rivera's speech about the positive impact of the program on his career and life. The Network+/CCNA course has helped to put employed graduates on a career track path that will lead to a bright and successful future. This project has been a labor of love for us all."
Technical training paired with employment support
The BMCC/Per Scholas training program included several components. Participants first completed a rigorous eight-week training at Per Scholas, in preparation for the CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) Network+ certification exam.
Next, they completed a 10-week training at BMCC, preparing them for the CCNA certification exam.
“It’s a challenging program, but we were very committed,” said Valedictorian Anthony Yimsiriwattana. “After class I would go straight to my part-time job in a bar on the Upper East Side. My shift ended at one a.m., so I would go to my parents’ Thai restaurant, close by, and sleep there, instead of taking the train all the way back to Brooklyn. That made it much easier for me to make it to class at BMCC the next morning.”
Yimsiriwattana was hired by Per Scholas on his last day of class to work full-time as an IT instructor, and six of his fellow graduates have already secured employment in an IT setting.
The participants have all worked closely on their employment goals, with the Business Solutions team at Per Scholas. They have also met with Steven Nuñez, Program Coordinator for Technology in the BMCC Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development.
“We worked on resume writing and interview skills, enabling the students to market themselves better to employers,” Nuñez says.
A competitive edge
The success of this comprehensive program is reflected in its numbers. All 15 graduates passed the CompTIA Network+ exam, and five so far, have passed the CCNA exam.
“BMCC’s partnership with Per Scholas creates an exciting opportunity for adult students looking to step up their game as job seekers in the thriving IT arena,” says Sunil Gupta, Dean of the Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development. "These certifications make individuals eligible to take on pivotal roles in building, managing and protecting the computer network in a large or small company and in a wide range of industries; finance, real estate and others."
The two year collaboration between Per Scholas and BMCC has changed the lives of the program's graduates according to Linda Lopez, VP of New Initiatives Per Scholas. She said the Network+/CCNA course has helped to "put employed graduates on a career track path that will lead to a bright and successful future."
"I was inspired by Ivan Rivera's speech, a program alumnus and former graduate, when he talked about the positive impact of the program on his career and life during the graduation ceremony. This project has been a labor of love for us all," said Lopez.
The graduates are Chai Anderson, Ayana Barnes, Stephen Blomstedt, Jorge Cuestas, Junior Gilson, Eric Hollander, Miguel Huertas, Leon Ivezaj, Ricardo Jean-Pierre, Ingrid Layne, Barry Nestor, Nathaniel Reynoso, Brandon Richards, Ernst Tranquille and Anthony Yimsiriwattana.