Calvin Gerald works with Accenture Federal Services. He has volunteered his time teaching IT skills to our residents since 2012. He just wrapped up his latest class at the end of July. We caught up with him to see how the class went and why he is passionate about his work with Samaritan Inns.
What made you want to get involved and volunteering with Samaritan Inns?
I was really impressed by the energy and enthusiasm to learn and get back into the workforce by the students and residents, when I taught back in 2012. Also, I wanted a way to give valuable skills for employment and education to the residents. Some people believe the only way back into the workforce is with a degree but IT has changed. It has become more “skilled based.” You can almost walk into entry level help desk and desktop support jobs with the knowledge they can attain here and apply it out there.
Why is this class so important for our residents and their possibilities in today’s job market?
These classes are important for the residents at Samaritan’s Inn because they provide an alternative way of getting hands-on experience for today’s job market. It’s also important because they are learning valuable lessons such as team work, which is needed in today’s collaborative environment, as well as an environment in which many workers are expected to lead projects, deliverables, and etc. The residents are also learning how to market themselves on LinkedIn and use the internet for other valuable online learning tools that many professionals use today. It’s important for residents to know that there is [more than] one way to attain their goals of gaining employment and that companies and communities want them to succeed. We want to work alongside them to achieve these goals and we want them working with us!
What was/is your favorite moment teaching this class?
My favorite moment so far, which I cannot explain, was the second week showing a student how to copy and paste in Word, as well as creating a cover letter. This experience touched me in a way where I had to step back and cry just a little. Not out of sadness, just that people, no matter where they are in life, are STILL excited to learn, to absorb, and to use what they know. This class has made me realize that, even though I may just see these students once a week, they take what they learn and they apply it almost immediately. [One resident in particular] has made such a huge impact on me. She is helping me teach the class because she told me she eventually wants to move into more HR type work. I told her that she can help me train because this is what you will be doing with new employees. The students have made such a huge impact on me. I almost do not want to teach anyone else but them. But, I know they have to go…eventually.
Would you like to return for future classes and sessions in the future? If so, what additional topics would you discuss (if any)?
I would like to return and teach the entire MS Office Suite, as well as LinkedIn topics. I would love to do career navigation and negotiating, as well as creating writing samples, resumes, and cover letters. These students are very knowledgeable about who they are and where they are going. They just have not had the right opportunity to market themselves. They are really golden and they know what they want. We just have to get them to believe that anything they want, they can have..
If you’d like to read more about the class, check out our Summer 2015 newsletter!