When Bronx native Jason Suaro returned home from Bahrain after seven years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, he already had some Information Technology (IT) experience under his belt. But, Suaro wanted to get his Comp TIA A+ certification, an industry recognized credential, and make himself more marketable in New York City’s competitive IT job marketplace.
Fast forward to August 11 when Suaro was recognized as class valedictorian as he joined nine other graduates of the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC)/Per Scholas Network Engineer program at a graduation ceremony. Since 2013, when the partnership between Per Scholas, a non-profit IT training group and BMCC began, over 175 have completed the program.
“I had shopped around and saw a number of different IT course programs, but the holistic approach of the BMCC/Per Scholas program—not just technical training, but workshops in interview skills, resume writing and job placement—caught my eye,” said Suaro.
During welcoming remarks, Craig Rosenberg, Director, Career Development and Technical Training Services at Per Scholas, told the group they had completed a tough program in their journey to a more lucrative job.
Participants are required to complete an eight-week training at Per Scholas, in preparation for the CompTIA (Computing Technology Industry Association) Network+ certification exam. Next, they complete a 10-week training at BMCC, preparing them for the CCNA certification exam. Instructors and counselors work with students to sharpen interviewing skills and the Per Scholas Business Services department connects participants to companies or other organizations that might be hiring.
Jose Rodriguez, who also spoke at the ceremony, completed the BMCC/Per Scholas program in 2013 and then landed a job as an IT support analyst at Wall Street firm FDM Group. “I’m now one of two employees who can operate Cisco systems there,” he said. “I’ve been able to travel to other cities and work because of the skills I gained here at the BMCC/Per Scholas program.”
BMCC Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Development Senior Program Coordinator for Technology Steven Nuñez said a big component of the program’s mission is to help skilled New Yorkers gain a competitive edge and to further their careers.
During the ceremony he recited a quote from essayist and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
In addition to valedictorian Suaro, graduates include Tayne Florent, Kerri Grinage, Jonathan Grode, Alejandro Lopez, Christian Maradiaga, Luis Paulino, Anthony Sackes, Jason Suazo and Richard Walter.