Ryan Bellew – Computer Support Specialist
Brighter Future After Takoda
By Ryan Bellew
My name is Ryan and I am a recent graduate of the Takoda Institute’s Computer Support Specialist Program. My background has been in the commercial printing industry where I was a job planner and estimator.
After being laid off a couple of times in the last few years I decided I wanted to try something different. I went to the Minnesota Work Force Center to attend an orientation as part of the process to apply for unemployment benefits. One of the employment counselors gave a presentation about job skill training opportunities available in Minnesota to people who have recently lost their jobs. The Computer Support Program at the Takoda Institute was mentioned and caught my attention. I have always had an interest in technology and have had some experience with information technology in the past. I followed up with that counselor later in the week and enrolled in the next session.
I have to admit; I had some initial nervousness about going back to school at 40. I wondered if maybe I should just find another job in my field and hope for the best. However, after speaking with the Student Support staff at Takoda and the AIOIC, they made it very easy for me to transition back to being a full time student after being away from a classroom for at least fifteen years.
The support from the staff continued throughout the program. I was in contact with and received regular updates from the financial aid department, career services department, and student service teams. I also had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with my program advisor throughout my time at Takoda.
To sum up, I am pleased with the decision I made to take the opportunity and roll with it. I learned so much from the instructors and my fellow classmates. The curriculum and atmosphere are perfect for someone new to the IT field as well as for someone with some prior experience. The cohort classroom environment, where all the students try and work together and share knowledge with each other, made the experience a good introduction to a real-world working environment.
Less than a month after graduation I found a new IT job with Merrill Corporation. I see a brighter future for myself and there are opportunities available to me now that were not there before I took a chance and enrolled in the Computer Support program at Takoda Institute.