Student Stories

At CET, a job is graduation and the diploma is your first check!


My Sweet Success

In August 2010 I graduated from Center for Employment Training, and I returned in July 2012 because I was wanted to make myself even more marketable. On my second go-round I am studying Business Office Technology. I took an interest in this field because I knew one day I would have my own business, and now I am studying something that helps me in my entrepreneurial goals.

Being an entrepreneur is in my blood.  Some of my family members have tried and failed, and some have succeeded at being entrepreneurs. It was rewarding; they were doing something they enjoyed and were able to keep their profits. For those that didn't succeed the reason may have been bad management skills or low sales. Being aware of this, I knew I would have to focus on  learning, gaining more information and developing skills if I was going to start a business.

'Cupcakes, Cupcake?' is the name of my company. In collaboration with two of my sisters - one an event planner and baker and the other the force behind marketing and branding, we're not just out there selling cupcakes like your average bake sale or baking just to pass time.  We are creating our future, making our own success.

What I want for my business is to build it up to leave a legacy for my children. I don't want them to grow up and struggle or hop around from job to job. This is a family business that, hopefully, they will grow to love and  to appreciate why and how it was started. My family is full of strong successful business women. They say most small businesses fail within the first year. I reject that thought and will be in the part of the group that wins and succeeds.   I can taste it now!

Tiffany Scott, CET Durham


Come, Learn, Conquer

My name is Toska Moore.  When I was pregnant with child number two at the age of 26, I was looking for work. I put in as many applications as I could, and I also volunteered but was never hired. I was tired of working for minimum wage, and thought maybe it was me, and I just wasn't qualified. But I knew I had potential & determination! I needed a career and not just a job. A family member of mine did the Medical Assistant program at CET. I called & started my life-changing journey.

I was skeptical because I hadn't been to school in years since leaving high school. I was welcomed with open arms and overflowing encouragement! 

I received a lifetime of training from CET. I was taught techniques for my resume; they even provided customer service workshops, as well as computer literacy classes. The atmosphere made it easier to learn, less stressful and more engaging. I completed all my comp's, but was nervous about the externship. I knew this was what I wanted to do. Ms. Taylor found me a site and even drove me to my interview.  I remember she told me ''I know you can do it!'' I made it through my externship program at Lakeside Medical Center. I learned a lot through this process and gained more skills and knowledge. I was hired as a fulltime Certified Medical Assistant. 

Certification was a big deal to me it meant: "You Came, You Learned, You Conquered!'' All the while still being a full time mother. I am overflowing with joy of what I have achieved, things I didn't think were possible but with a little determination, support, and encouragement, it inspired me to want to do more. (I will be starting my RN courses this fall--fyi: paid for by my employer, one of the perks.) Nevertheless, none of these events would have happened to me without calling CET!

"It is often up to the individual to take from a situation what they will". I took with me skills, knowledge, confidence and determination to strive for more.

I am beyond grateful to the Chicago CET staff, truly encouraging people. I will not let CET down and I will continue my education! Look out for future updates! My futures so bright were all gonna need sunglasses!!! THANK YOU BEYOND WORDS CET!!                                                                                                

Toska Moore , CMA 


We all have choices...

Graduating from the Building Maintenance class at CET Alexandria, Mohamed Barrie is steadily learning more and achieving more certificates.  When he first came to CET, he rearranged things so he could take the class, moving near the center and changing to part-time job.  His instructor says about Mohamed, ”His attitude is always open to taking on something unknown and going for it, trying to achieve what he wanted to achieve.  He never let any type of obstacles get in his way, slow him down or stop him.  His attitude was ‘I know I can do this and I will do this’ and he did.” 

Just about the time he graduated from the class, his part-time job at a restaurant was offering to promote him to Assistant Manager, with additional training and a raise in pay.  He was conflicted and worried that he should take the promotion instead of trying to get a job in the maintenance field.  He had been to several interviews, but didn’t have an offer.  Staff listened, and gave him information about the job of an Assistant Manager in terms of tasks and pay.  He was encouraged to review his goals and to continue exploring maintenance technician opportunities.  The next week, he received an offer from Bozzuto Properties at more pay than he was offered as an Assistant Manager.  He accepted the position offered by Bozzuto and began working as a Maintenance Technician.  

“Be committed … like the job that you are doing. There are jobs out there with very good pay and good benefits.”

Mohamed had reached one of his goals, but he was not finished.  He returned to CET to take the evening HVAC Specialist program to further his new career.  Knowing the value of CET’s training, he brought his own brother to take the class too.  Since graduating from both programs, Mohamed has continued training, taking Chiller and Boiler short-term classes at National Association of Plumbers and Electricians (NAPE), achieving certificates there.  Mohamed worked for 3 years at Bozzuto, moved to another company, where he is gaining experience with Boilers.  Of his recent job search, he wanted to get a job where he could gain work experience with Boilers.  He was proud that he sent his resume out and had job offers very quickly.

Mohamed recently came and talked to the current Building Maintenance students.  He encouraged the students, “to be committed, to sacrifice and to like the job that you are doing.  There are jobs out there with very good pay and good benefits."  He is confident that once you gain the hands on work experience, good jobs are easy to find.


Attitude can mean everything

Justin came to the Center for Employment Training after recently serving a five-year sentence in prison. He knew he’d face challenges above and beyond because of his past and was anxious about re-entering the work world.  Justin’s brother thought maybe CET could help. After doing a little research, Justin realized that there was a job demand for HVAC Technicians. Based on the promising job outlook in this field, he decided to enroll in the HVAC Tech and Green Technology course at CET. 

During his training at CET, Justin excelled in all areas, including achieving perfect attendance.  He did well with theory and became adept with the hands-on training.  Justin helped wherever needed.  He’s attitude was one of willingness to do and try anything that would give him a new chance. Justin jumped at the opportunity to volunteer with installation of package units for the onsite childcare center at CET.  He also volunteered to be the Treasurer on the CET Student Council.

He always maintained a positive attitude that became contagious with his fellow classmates and with CET staff. 

Justin no longer lets obstacles stand in his way.  During training, his housing situation was desperate but he was determined to make the most of his time a CET.  He often stayed with his brother and at times was forced to live in his car.  Justin never let his unstable housing situation deter him from completing his training program, affect his attendance or change his positive attitude. 

This positive attitude and his proven dependability assisted Justin with securing a full-time job after he graduated.  He knew it was going to be tough with a record, and later realized just how much he had to do to overcome his past.

Staying focused, he got a job working for a solar company as an Installer and Service Technician through a temporary agency.  After just a short while on the job, the company was so impressed with Justin’s ethics that they decided to buy out his contract.

Justin will tell you that he enjoyed his time at CET and he felt that training he received was awesome! He admits that it was really tough to find a job. He had a lot to prove, but he did it and is still working with the company a year later.  When asked to tell his story, Justin said, “If in some small way my story can help someone else overcome what I have, go for it.”

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