Through Year Up’s Accelerated Model, Carnel is quickly starting his work-based experience in IT and stepping into his dream of a career in tech.
Everyone knew Carnel Harley as an athlete. Growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he excelled in football and basketball, going on to play wide receiver at Slippery Rock University in Western Pennsylvania and preparing to showcase his talents to NFL scouts. Everyone saw athletics as Carnel’s dream, his ticket, his career—but he wanted something different.
“I was living the life that other people wanted me to live,” Carnel said. “But what did I want to do?”
Through Year Up’s Accelerated Model in Philadelphia, Carnel has stepped into his dream: a career in technology and the opportunity to help others find their passions. The Accelerated Model compresses Year Up’s traditional 12-month cycle into seven months, giving participants a chance to gain vital professional and technical skills and then more quickly start their work-based experience.
With the Accelerated Model, I decided to commit to seven months of growth and take the steps to make the reality I wanted for myself. I was hungry to get into an internship and get that work experience, and I knew the time was now.Year Up Participant
Carnel has completed three months of learning and development training in information technology and is in a four-month internship at TE Connectivity as an Information Security Analyst. In that role, he communicates between the technology and business sides of the company and works with governance and risk management.
“With the Accelerated Model, I decided to commit to seven months of growth and take the steps to make the reality I wanted for myself," Carnel said. “I was hungry to get into an internship and get that work experience, and I knew the time was now.”
Carnel had always been intrigued by technology, but his interest took a backseat to athletics. Then, his NFL pro day at Slippery Rock didn’t go as planned due to an ankle injury, and his beloved great-grandmother died. Carnel found himself adrift, working at warehouse jobs, living out of his car, and yearning for support.
“I said to myself, ‘This is not where I want to be,” Carnel said. “I didn’t want jobs anymore. I was ready to step into a career.”
Carnel had begun exploring mindfulness and meditation as ways to cope after his great-grandmother’s death, and he developed an interest in computer science after leaving college. He decided to lean into both. While on LinkedIn searching for software development jobs, Carnel came across an ad for Year Up’s Accelerated Model. He clicked the link, applied to join the next cohort, and found what he needed to live up to his potential.
In the learning and development phase, Carnel learned both technical skills in IT and professional skills like resume development, networking, and communication. He has also found mentors in his managers at TE Connectivity, who he describes as empathetic, helpful, and “everything you want to find in a leader.”
While Carnel is gaining knowledge, skills, and a network at TE Connectivity, he's also giving it his all. “Carnel is an energetic, talented, and confident young adult whose passion and positivity fills up the room," said the TE Connectivity Security Team.
“When I got into Year Up, I felt that real, organic love again. The unconditional support, guidance, and love there helped me find my true self and really tap into the skills I possess,” Carnel said. “I can’t be more grateful for how Year Up really elevated my belief in myself and the side of me it brought out: someone who is more vocal and not afraid to lead.”
After he finishes his internship at TE Connectivity, Carnel hopes to find a full-time job in cybersecurity and eventually launch his own nonprofit. He envisions a community center that would offer practices in mindfulness, nutrition, fitness, and nature to help kids and adults in inner cities find their paths—just like he did.
“I think of everything I’ve gone through, and I want to be in a position where I can help as many people as I can,” Carnel said. “If I can introduce these things to people who are disadvantaged and be that spark for them, I feel like it can help bring out their best.
“I want kids to know that they are limitless,” he added. “Anything is possible.”