ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- In an unassuming two-story building on College Drive lives are being changed.
"I took a blind leap of faith," said Anthony Coleman, who has benefited from Pragmatic Works Foundation, part of Pragmatic Works a IT company, in Orange Park.
For the past three years, the company has helped many veterans make a change.
The foundation provides free IT training to:
A. military veterans first
B. unemployed and displaced workers
C. people trying to make a career change (underemployed) who are unable to afford traditional IT training or degree programs
It is five days of intensive training and at the end of the week comes the big pay off.
"If they get selected to participate in the foundation, the first thing that we tell them is that we're going have companies that will come in on your last day and that will do technical interviews with you," said Sherri McDonald. "There are companies that are considering hiring the foundation students."
McDonald is one of the trainers, but before that she too was a student in the foundation's program.
"I would probably say about 35 percent of the students that have participated have been placed," said McDonald.
Coleman left the debt collection field and to find a new career in the Pragmatic Works Foundation IT training class.
Training is free for admitted students. Free laptops are provided for the week, and free textbook are provided to keep.
Coleman said when he enrolled he did not expect to also be working for Pragmatic Works, but now he does. "I have my foot in the door so once you get your foot in the door it is all about working hard," said Coleman.
The foundation students learn to work as a database administrator and to write reports using SQL server technology.
McDonald said the company's CEO Brian Knight created the foundation training program as a way to give back to the community. "It is something that has made a positive impact on my life; my personal goal is that I make a positive impact on the students participating in the class," said McDonald.
McDonald said her classes are limited to 12 students and the next one begins Dec. 5.
MORE: Apply online
The deadline to apply for the Dec. 5 program is Nov. 18. Future training session will be available monthly in 2012.
First Coast News