Career Change after a Layoff
With the support of workNet DuPage, Danny Alvarez, Jr. went from being laid off to a new career in Information Technology.
For most people, experiencing a layoff is a traumatic event, for Danny Alvarez, Jr. it was an opportunity.
Danny Alvarez, Jr., workNet DuPage client 2019
At the age of 28, Danny Alvarez, Jr. was climbing the ladder of success at his job when he received the news that he was laid off. Over a period of five years he had worked his way up to become a production lead at Pepperidge Farm in Downers Grove setting up and operating machines. That all came to an end.
He says the layoff forced him to take a hard look at his career trajectory and think about where he was headed and where he wanted to be. He knew he liked to work with computers and had an IT career in mind but didn’t know if he could make the switch.
He heard about the WIOA training grant for laid off workers through his wife’s cousin and decided to see what it was all about. “I started looking for another job, but I wanted something more,” Danny says. “I was looking to get into the IT industry. It seemed to offer endless possibilities.”
Through the WIOA training grant, Danny was able to enroll in the National Able IT Career Lab. The program provided him with a solid foundation and the requisite skills to get a start in the field. In sixteen weeks, he garnered four certifications in Microsoft and Cisco.
“I started looking for another job, but I wanted something more,” Danny says.
The choice to pursue a career in information technology is setting Danny up for long-term potential. In DuPage County, information technology is one of four industries driving the region’s growth next to healthcare, manufacturing, and transportation, distribution and logistics.
While Danny was pursuing IT training, he attended the workNet DuPage Bootcamp to hone his job search skills. He learned to style his resume for a career change in IT and conduct mock interviews which included polishing a 60 second elevator pitch. It was a step out of his comfort zone, but he says it really paid off. “The constructive criticisms were actually really helpful,” Danny noted. “I was surprised at the amount of resources and how much community support is out there, especially when it comes to networking.”
His career counselor at workNet DuPage, Marianne Eisley, was there every step of the way. She says, “Danny pursued a set of really great IT certifications that are very difficult. He passed all four certification exams and secured a full-time permanent position straight out of the gate.”
Danny got his new job with the IT management service provider Aqueity in Lombard, and it is a perfect fit for him. At the frontlines of one of the company’s help desks, he will be responding to the IT needs of area companies. As a member of a four-person team, he will be surrounded by advanced tier members, and he will learn from them and continue to grow.
“I left my job wanting to do something different, but I didn’t know how to make that possible. I feel really fortunate for this opportunity to change careers.”
Danny’s dogged persistence and hopeful outlook was key to his success. Marianne says, “I was really impressed with Danny’s meticulous approach and determination. I would see him working on his resume at the center and really going after his dreams. He took everything and ran with it to make his life better.”
Now employed and launching a new career, Danny gives credit to the workNet DuPage Career Center. “It completely changed my life,” he says. “I left my job wanting to do something different, but I didn’t know how to make that possible. I feel really fortunate for this opportunity to change careers.”
Danny’s ultimate goal is to go into network engineering and he says his training and the new job will definitely get him to where he wants to be.
When we asked Danny if he would recommend the workNet DuPage Career Center to a good friend he replied: “I already have.”