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Workforce Wednesday: Justin Vogelar turns an interest in computers into a career through support tech progam

July 21, 2021, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – GRCC Workforce Training programs provide in-demand skills leading to rewarding careers. Each Wednesday we’ll meet students who are heading down an educational pathway and changing their lives by earning occupational certificates.

Justin Vogelar was unemployed with no prospects in 2016. He had a degree in behavioral science but need a skill that would get him on his way.

He never had formal training on computers but definitely had interest in technology. That is when he found GRCC’s Computer Support Technician Job Training program.  

“This program had exactly what I was looking for. I liked the structure of the class. It felt like a real job. Once I started the program, I was hooked. The instructor, Moss Ingram is so much more than an instructor. He has connections in many different areas of computer technology and just knows so much!”

Ingram’s connections and knowledge provides students with an ever-expanding pool of opportunities; including concepts like IoT & ambient/ubiquitous computing in terms of nearly all products and services.

Vogelar completed the program and applied for an internship at GRCC but didn’t get it. “It actually worked out that I didn’t get that internship because I interviewed and was offered a part-time help desk position instead.”

Eventually he was offered a full-time position and has been a valuable member of the GRCC Information Technology team ever since.

The Computer Support Technician Job Training Program is now offered in an entirely online format – but there is still a personal element in the program.

 “We have structured the program in a way that provides flexibility but keeps the personal interaction necessary to be successful in the program and in the industry,” Ingram said.

The program prepares students to achieve two certifications: the Google IT Support Professional Certificate and the CompTIA A+ Certification. Both of these IT certifications are globally recognized and represent in-demand skills sought after by a wide array of employers.

Unlike many training programs that meet the needs of a specific market, any and all employers who use computer technology require computer support, whether the IT support is provided by a full-time employee or by a contracted managed services company.

This program is designed to address computer support from four perspectives: technical, professionalism and employability, business innovation, and design.

From a technical perspective, this program focuses on the four fundamentals of IT: hardware, software, networking, and security. Additionally, students gain experience with both the Windows operating system, as well as Linux, along with setting up and accessing virtual machines and cloud computing services. Many troubleshooting strategies are taught to prepare students for the myriad problems they will encounter and how to provide the most efficient and effective solutions.

This program also prepares students with the employability skills and the professionalism required to work in IT. Students regularly meet local IT technicians, engineers, business owners, and recruiters via Zoom to learn from their experiences and current market expectations.

The topic of design is integrated throughout the program in order to best prepare students to satisfy the increasing and ever-changing demands and expectations of today’s IT users.

GRCC has an unmatched reputation among employers for supplying West Michigan with work-ready technicians. Our graduates specialize in providing empathy for the people they support while solving complex problems using troubleshooting and design thinking methodologies. Students are also taught to focus on human-centered solutions and technology-based innovations for both colleagues and customers.

“The skills taught in this program really set you apart from the others. The human element is unique to GRCC’s program. It gives you a lot of confidence,” Vogelar said.

Anyone interested in gaining career skills through GRCC Workforce Training can connect via email at workforcetraining@grcc.edu, and by phone at (616) 234-3800. Additional information is at grcc.edu/programs/job-workforce-training.

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