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Workforce Wednesday: Stephan Paul says Computer Support Technician Job Training Program 'one of the best experiences of my life'

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.

Stephan "Stevie" Paul, had an associate degree but was having trouble obtaining a job due to his lack of real-world, hands-on experience.  

“At this point I needed to seek an education that would give me experience. I researched and toured several educational centers that offer hands-on training. All were well out of my price range as I am the sole income provider for my family. My wife provides care for our son and we have twin daughters who have major health issues. While on the GRCC website I found exactly what I was looking for.”

Paul is now graduate of the Computer Support Technician Job Training Program.

“I feel very blessed that I was able to participate in this program for it changed my life. The class truly was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Paul is currently a systems administrator at Flat River Group, which has been recognized by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in both 2016 and 2017. 

“Not only was this program exactly what I was looking for, but it was more than I expected,” he said. “I realized I had neglected all that goes into ‘job training.’ 

Paul said instructor Moss Ingram covers how to find out about emerging technologies.  Ingram also focuses on employability skills and conducts a resume workshop aimed at IT careers.

The Computer Support Technician Job Training 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 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. 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. 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.

“When I was offered an entry level position at Flat River Group, I had reservations, so I consulted Moss,” Paul said. “He gave me the confidence to go for it! My training at GRCC gave me the skills to learn and grow with the company well beyond the IT helpdesk role that I first accepted.

“The Computer Support Technician Job-Training program is by far the best education I have ever had. It has changed my career and life is immeasurable.  I spent 15 years trying to get there by myself and failed.  Six months in this program gave me my entry into the market and the ability to far exceed that entry point.”

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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