Paul Experiences Life-Changing Opportunity through WEI Program

March 18, 2021

Illinois Central College changes lives every day. Paul, who recently experienced a life-changing event through the Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI) LAN Technician program, is a great testament to this.

Throughout this program, Paul has experienced hands-on training in entry-level technologies focusing on core routing and switching, computer hardware, and operating systems. He has learned how to install, configure, operate, repair, maintain, troubleshoot, and diagnose PCs, servers, network hardware, network software, and other peripheral equipment.

Paul, who was born and raised in Kenya, wanted to provide a decent life for his family by earning a job with a good wage in the US. When he began classes at ICC, however, he was struggling with tuition payments and making them via a credit card. He said, “This was definitely not sustainable and was plunging me further into debt. By paying for my tuition and books, WEI took a heavy load off my shoulders and allowed me to concentrate on my schoolwork.” Not only did WEI pay for his tuition and books, but it also helped him rent a laptop, provided a $1,200 stipend to help pay bills, and connected him to a local company with employment opportunities after he graduated in May.

Paul has been especially appreciative of the support ICC employees have offered along the way. “The professors are knowledgeable and are always eager to support us. Staff members are friendly and look for ways to assist us, as well. I would encourage future students to learn as much as you can from your professors and to work with the WEI coordinators. The career department can help you create a competitive resume and application letter for job searching, and the Foundation can assist you with obtaining scholarships. Everyone is incredibly happy to help.”

Because Paul will complete his LAN Technician certification this spring, he was recently hired by Accenture as an apprentice. Through this apprenticeship, his salary has doubled, and he’ll also receive full benefits.

“This is a life-changing event for me. The journey has been nothing short of amazing. I am very thankful to ICC and WEI for offering me this opportunity.”

– Paul

In the Peoria area, the median salary for computer technicians is $54,409, with highly experienced workers earning up to $82,506. There are approximately 46 annual regional job openings in this field due to growth and turnover.