Jesus Rodriguez was a taxi driver before the pandemic hit,, but lack of work forced him to applied for public assistance and become a stay-at-home dad. But Tragedy had literally hit home earlier; fire consumed his home and he lost everything. His wife worked to support the family while he sought a stable job. As many people who apply or receive public assistance, Jesus was referred to our New York City’s Human Resource Administration (HRA)-funded  programs to receive training and employment support services on January 2020.

 

At Goodwill, Jesus attended weekly virtual workshops in hopes of securing one of the many jobs available in a warehouse or as a janitor during the pandemic. But since he had expressed a strong interest in the IT field during his assessment at Goodwill NYNJ, he was referred to the Bridge to Technology pilot program when it launched in January 2021. Bridge to Technology is a bridge pathway program, in partnership with Per Scholas, that equips individuals enrolled in HRA’s city-wide Career Services programs with the necessary skills to qualify for and graduate from advanced technology training programs and obtain on-demand tech jobs.

 

The Bridge team provided him a laptop to attend classes and complete his assignments. They assessed his reading and math skills using the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). He received classroom instruction to help him improve numeracy and literacy, and wraparound supports to help him succeed during the duration of the training and at work in the future. Every day, he logged in for class on-time, even when he had to drive his wife to work. He also  engaged in one-on-one counseling and tutoring to meet the requirements for the advanced training at Per Scholas. And his commitment paid off. After five weeks of Adult Basic Education classes, he improved his reading and Math scores one whole grade level and was accepted at Per Scholas. Not even getting COVID-19 stop him from continuing to attend virtual classes and submitting his assignments. Jesus had a goal: he wanted a career, not just a job!

 

During the graduation ceremony to celebrate the Advance IT training completion, Jesus received a Certificate of Resourcefulness, one of the Per Scholas core principles. After graduation, Goodwill provided him $150 in Lyft credits to go on interviews. Then he obtained his Google IT Support Certification on May 1, 2021 and his CompTIA A+ certification two weeks later on June 17. And on July 23 Jesus secured a job as Level 1 Technician at Agilent Technologies earning $22/hr. “My advice for anybody who is considering joining Bridge to Tech: Do it. Give yourself a chance!”

 

Bridge to Technology equips individuals enrolled in New York City’s Human Resources Administration city-wide Career Services programs with the necessary skills to qualify for and graduate from advanced technology training programs and obtain on-demand tech jobs.

 

Story submitted by:

Tanisha Lesane, Bridge To Technology Program Manager