Charley’s Story: Starting a new career and achieving financial independence

Starting a new career and achieving financial independence is a significant, positive change in Charley’s life. Roughly 10 years ago, Charley was experiencing homelessness and had entered a treatment program.

“It was a low point in my life… I went into treatment and spent about four or five years trying to get myself back into a good mindset. Trying to heal and re-evaluate my life.”

“It was a low point in my life… I went into treatment and spent about four or five years trying to get myself back into a good mindset. Trying to heal and re-evaluate my life.”

When he was ready to move forward, Charley connected with a vocational rehabilitation counselor through Minnesota CareerForce who worked with him to determine a career path. He’d been interested in Information Technology (IT) Support since high school, so his counselor recommended Avivo’s IT Support Training Program.

Charley started IT Support training, only to have it derailed twice over a two-year span. Shortly after starting at Avivo, he was diagnosed with cancer. He stepped away for cancer treatment and reached remission one year later. Charley went back to class in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic started.

Rather than totally shutting down when COVID hit, instructors at Avivo worked with Charley and other students to find a solution, allowing their classes to continue.

“I kept in touch through video conferencing and email… I was able to take the class remotely.”

Charley graduated from Avivo’s IT program, passed his CompTIA certifications, and worked with Avivo career counselors to improve his resume and interviewing skills. As the pandemic raged on, he was having trouble finding employment. That’s when the Avivo Institute of Career and Technical Education hired him as a paid intern, which gave him the day-to-day, IT work experience he needed to find full-time employment in his career.

“I’m so appreciative of Avivo… I hadn’t worked in 10 years, and I hadn’t even done an employment interview in a number of years, so starting the process I was extremely nervous,” shares Charley. “Thankfully, I had a lot of people [at Avivo] I was able to lean on to help support me in the process.”

“I’m so appreciative of Avivo… I hadn’t worked in 10 years, and I hadn’t even done an employment interview in a number of years, so starting the process I was extremely nervous … Thankfully, I had a lot of people [at Avivo] I was able to lean on to help support me in the process.”

He was feeling positive about his job hunt and started hearing back from potential employers. One day, he was talking to his recruiter when they found out in real-time that he’d been offered a position. He was ecstatic!

“I felt really excited and validated with the training I’ve done over the past three years at Avivo to get the certifications.”

Now that Charley is starting his new career, he’s enjoying the long-term success he’s having right now and wants to focus on day-to-day and short-term successes.

“I’m enjoying more financial freedom… The Avivo internship and being offered this [full-time] job has allowed me to move out of the transitional housing I’ve been in… to have my own place.”

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