dietmarkargboBefore Year Up, I was ambitious, but lost. I wanted to be financially independent, but was struggling to support myself. I worked various jobs trying to stay afloat: lifeguard, construction, and fast food. I was under a lot of stress when I heard about Year Up through a friend. I was unsure at first, but figured I had nothing to lose and applied.

The classes I took at Year Up not only gave me the job skills necessary to earn my internship, but also gave me a way of thinking about problems that I could apply to larger aspects of my life. I also learned to be more conscious about my finances. I am now able to balance what I make with what I spend to build a budget. This has been a great asset to me now that I am living on my own.

I was very excited when I was told I had earned an internship at New Signature. I knew I wanted to work for a firm that dealt exclusively in IT, and Year Up was able to get me there. I was one of two lead internal support technicians. If someone had a PC problem in the office, 90% of the time I was there to fix it. I was surprised to see how good customer service can take you a long way. I honestly feel empowered by the way New Signature taught me to interact with people.

After graduation, I networked with my peers and worked with Robert Half, a staffing firm, to find a job. The skills I had acquired during my time at Year Up paid off. I was offered a job with JHPIEGO (Johns Hopkins) as a Desk Support Technician.

My blueprint for how I was going to make everything work before Year Up wasn’t as detailed as it is today. I now know that what excites me most is the opportunity to learn new technology. Ultimately, I plan to start my own business and be my own boss.

The urban youth of America are the most resourceful individuals you will come across. Wherever you put us, good or bad, we take what’s around us and utilize it to achieve our goals.