For seven years Kevin Johnson was an entrepreneur, owning a food truck of his own. However, the physical labor required to operate the food truck had started to take a toll Kevin’s body, so when the COVID-19 quarantine impacted the economy, Kevin made the difficult discussion to close his business.
Not certain what was next, Kevin used the pandemic as an opportunity to level up his skills. He had always been interested in technology and decided to pursue the skills and certifications needed to enter the cybersecurity field.
Kevin enrolled in two cybersecurity programs: a Cybersecurity Management program at a local college with a focus on ethical hacking, and Goodwill of Colorado’s LIFT IT Training certification to achieve his CompTIA Security+ and Network+ certifications. While the program at the college offered training relevant to the cyber workforce, they did not offer industry certifications. Kevin felt it was important to obtain certifications in cybersecurity because even though he had a good brain for technology, his previous experience in IT was a full decade in the past. Additionally, his college degree was in a non-technical field and thus did not provide the up-to-date experience and credentials the industry generally requires. Kevin found his training at Goodwill not only provided him with the necessary credentials to enter the IT industry, but also taught him the information he needed to be successful in his other classes.
Although Kevin hadn’t planned to enter the job market until he completed his college program, the LIFT IT Training staff sent out regular opportunities for students and program alumni highlighting job openings, career fairs, and networking events. Kevin knew when he was ready to enter the job market Goodwill would be there to support him – and when Kevin was ready the timing couldn’t have been better for either party!
In the spring of 2022, Goodwill LIFT IT Training Facilitator, Joe Mullally, was promoted to IT Training Facilitation Manager, leaving his current position open. Through the IT Training program Joe had become familiar with Kevin’s work ethic, skills, and collaborative nature and encouraged him to apply for the vacant position.
In June 2022, Kevin joined the Goodwill LIFT IT Training team as the Southern LIFT IT Training Facilitator helping current students achieve their certifications! Not only was Kevin able to directly apply the skills and knowledge from his time in the IT Training to his new job, but it is also significantly easier on his body than the food truck was, removing much of the previous discomfort he experienced.
Kevin enjoys the opportunity of helping other students achieve their goals through LIFT’s training and gets to be a real-life example to them of what can be gained through their hard work and dedication. “I think being able to step into this work and have the perspective of a successful graduate is an accomplishment that I’m both pleased to have achieved and honored to be able to carry forward with care and excellence,” he said.