The Year Up National Capital Region graduate has been promoted twice at Deloitte, and is leading his team as they troubleshoot technology issues.
When Joel Beckford was in the learning and development phase of his program at Year Up’s National Capital Region campus, two of his proudest moments were his dependability awards: one for never being late and another for never missing a day. Those awards proved to Joel that the small decisions he made every day meant something. And, in Joel’s case, they added up to the biggest prize of all — when he mentioned those awards during his internship interview, they sparked the interviewer’s interest. The interview led to his internship and eventual full-time role as a senior technician at Deloitte Services LP. Deloitte provides industry-leading audit, consulting, tax and advisory services to many of the world’s most admired brands.
“Throughout life, I had put things like schoolwork on the back burner because I didn’t understand their importance and how they would help me after school,” Joel said. “I got a second chance with Year Up. I was willing to do whatever I had to do to fully succeed through the program.”
Joel said he felt aimless after high school, unsure of his next step. His mother, who worked as a receptionist at a doctor’s office, had heard about Year Up from a patient. She encouraged Joel to attend an informational session; when he learned about the program’s structure and its partners, he was sold.
I wish I had known when I graduated that the military and college aren’t your only options to succeed coming out of high school. Those aren’t the only avenues you have to find a career. I was fortunate that there are organizations like Year Up to help people find placements, careers, and success.Senior Technician, Deloitte Services LP
Year Up’s learning and development phase served as a rich environment for Joel to forge strong relationships with his fellow students and learn from guest speakers, including Year Up graduates and corporate partners. He also dove into the ins and outs of computer hardware and software and discovered a natural talent for public speaking, thanks to a class on the topic that drew him out of his comfort zone.
One of the guest speakers was a Deloitte leader, whose engaging personality and welcoming attitude impressed Joel. “After that speech, everyone was like, ‘I want to work with Deloitte,’” Joel said. With the internship, Joel got his wish. He made the most of the opportunity, regularly checking in with his manager, networking, polishing his professional skills, and referring back to his extensive notes from the Year Up program. In Joel’s case, his internship led to a full-time offer.
“I had been praying for that,” Joel said. “My family had supported me throughout the whole program. My mother was one of the most supportive people in my life — anytime I needed help, she was there. It was an overwhelming experience, to know I had made it to the point where I found what I wanted to do.”
Joel not only found his passion, but also his way into an organization that deeply values his contributions. “In his eight years at Deloitte, Joel has brought tremendous value to our organization and to our technology team,” said Guy Fruda, Managing Director, Deloitte Services LP, and Chief Technology Support Leader at Deloitte. “Our organization strives to continue to advance an inclusive community through our commitment to racial equity. As such, we are proud to collaborate with Year Up to provide skills-based opportunities to talented candidates like Joel,” Guy continued. “So far, we’ve had the privilege of welcoming 15 Year Up interns to our technology organization as full-time employees. Not only does Deloitte benefit from having a workforce that brings an array of backgrounds and perspectives, but candidates are provided opportunities that help to empower them to reach their potential and achieve sustainable careers.”
Joel has now been promoted twice since joining Deloitte full-time, and leads a team to troubleshoot technology issues and provide after-hours support for the organization’s entire southeast region. “Anytime I can push something forward to help people, I just enjoy it so much,” Joel said. “A lot of people I work with can be frustrated when their technology isn’t working, but I can be there and help them continue to do their jobs.”
A person’s ambition and willingness to learn on the job can be just as important as a degree. I had no degree, but I was operating on pure ambition and what I wanted to learn on that job to be successful. With that, I mastered my job and I’m now teaching other people. I took everything that came with the program and my goals and was able to be successful on the job.Senior Technician, Deloitte Services LP
Deloitte recognizes the power of this ambition and is committed to improving education and workforce development for those facing the greatest barriers, both through its capabilities as an organization and by providing first-hand experiences. As part of this effort, Deloitte became a founding member of OneTen, a coalition of 70+ employers, 100+ talent developers, and community-based organizations committed to helping hire, promote, and advance one million Black individuals without a four-year college degree into well-paying jobs by 2030. As a member of OneTen, Deloitte supports efforts to achieve lasting impact for Black talent, share knowledge and leading practices, and help to generate research, case studies, and thought leadership to influence wider adoption of employment and business practices that support economic and racial justice.
“As a professional services organization, Deloitte seeks to hire the brightest and most talented individuals, and skills-based hiring is part of that effort,” said Ara Anoshiravani, Deloitte’s Purpose Office Leader of Education and Workforce Development. “Skills-based hiring isn’t just an imperative for the business success of the organization—it is also key to our goal of promoting racial and economic equity across society more broadly. Year Up has been an outstanding collaborator to us as we continue to expand our commitment to skills-based hiring, not only as an advisor but also as a talent pipeline, providing us with incredible professionals like Joel. I am both optimistic and excited for what lies ahead.”
Joel’s ultimate goal for what lies ahead is to continue to grow and develop in his career at Deloitte, serving both internal clients and his team members. He is also enrolled at Eastern Gateway Community College to pursue his associate degree in information technology, and he hopes to soon buy a home of his own.
“Back in high school, I let what people say about my failure determine who I was, and I shouldn’t have. Failure doesn’t define people,” Joel said. “My hope is that corporate America values skills developed in programs such as Year Up in the same way they value skills learned in universities. I know what I gained from the program. If someone takes it as seriously as I took it and applies the tools we learn there to their job, I believe that they’ll be successful wherever Year Up takes them.”