At 8 a.m., you can find Markus Mitchell at the help desk in the IT department at JEVS Human Services answering request calls, following up on emails, and helping walk-ins—tackling any issues or desperate cries for assistance with troubleshooting devices. He then does a quick sweep of the office, assisting coworkers with passwords, printers, or connection problems; working to make the day run smoothly for everyone.
His journey to employment at JEVS took an interesting path.
After Mitchell graduated high school, he found himself working odd jobs before enrolling in a community college. With no desire to accumulate tuition debt for classes that didn’t interest him, he began to search for a more fulfilling career.
He soon found an alternative to a college degree, the pre-apprenticeship program called TechServ Scholars offered by JEVS. His dedication shined as he learned hardware and software knowledge from program staff and mentors, while gaining hands-on experience through volunteer service in rec centers and schools throughout Philadelphia.
This program led Mitchell to a registered apprentice opportunity with the information technology department at JEVS. “Even though you are an apprentice, you are still treated as an employee,” he said.
Now, a year later, Mitchell has finished his apprenticeship, becoming an “official,” full-time employee. He enjoys his position, especially when comparing it to his old jobs, “Of course, I like the job! I’m no longer mad about getting out of bed early. My days used to drag, but now my day flies by.”
When asked if he would recommend an apprenticeship over a traditional two- or four-year degree program he responded, “I recommend it all the time. I am not in tuition debt, and I’m not stuck in a classroom, but it does take a lot of time and accountability. There’s no easy way into this field – you have to go through fire.”
Joe DeVincentis, junior systems administrator at JEVS, mentored him through his apprenticeship and continues to work with him now. “Markus wants to help, he wants to be engaged, he wants to learn,” he said. “He might not get it at first, but he wants to hear the information, and he wants to absorb it.”
Mitchell is currently balancing his new career at JEVS, completing a certificate program for network analysis, and studying for his Comp TIA A+ certification, which includes running through 200-400 exam questions every night.
As for his thoughts on being an official employee at JEVS, he doesn’t feel much of a difference. “I already feel like an employee. I am not feeling any extra pressure. I feel right at home.”