â€œA Dream Come Trueâ€ at Chicago Career Tech and Changing Worlds
Submitted on behalf of Melanie Brown-Gilbert, Chicago Career Tech Participant
For the past five months, I have been participating in the Chicago Career Tech (CCT) job retraining program, and have had the opportunity to complete the hands-on training portion of the program at Changing Worlds, an educational arts nonprofit organization that provides oral history, writing and art programs for K-12 students and educators in Chicago. Developing my new professional skills at Changing Worlds has been a dream come true, and I owe my placement there to United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, which acts as CCT’s official nonprofit recruitment partner.
I have a Bachelor’s degree in TV Production and Directing and have completed about half of a Master’s degree in Theology. Over the years, I’ve had a variety of jobs–working as a bank teller manager, department store sales specialist and middle school teacher. Most recently, I worked as an administrative assistant at a dialysis center, but was laid off in March 2011.
My sister learned about CCT last July and emailed me a link to their website. The Project Management program caught my eye as I had worked on various special projects in my previous jobs and knew about the Project Management field, but did not have any official certification. I prayed over whether I should apply, and ultimately decided that this was an opportunity I had to go for. When I found out I was accepted into the program, I was ecstatic!
Things have really turned around for me since I became a Chicago Career Tech participant. Through CCT, I’ve received graduate-level training at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which has “woken up” the professional skills that had lain dormant during my past few jobs. At Changing Worlds, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects, including researching new database solutions, and evaluating them according to cost, customization and ease of use. From 14 possibilities, I narrowed the field to four and presented my findings to the executive team. I have also assisted the organization in replacing their current peer-to-peer software used for event registration at fundraising events like their annual 5K Walk for Cultural Awareness.
I truly believe that my experience with Chicago Career Tech has been part of God’s divine intervention in my life. All of the IIT instructors and CCT staff have been wonderful, and from my first day at Changing Worlds, I was treated like a part of the team. With my program coming to a close, I’ve started putting my resume out there and applying for positions. In April, I will take – and have no doubt I will pass – the Certified Associate in Project Management exam. I’m confident that the experience I’ve gained through CCT will serve me well as I continue to advance my career.
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