Graduate Profile: Anacani Briseno

Anacani Briseno is a graduate of the ActivateWork Summer 2021 cohort. Anacani first developed an interest in computer systems as a child through her brothers, who often shared their computer games with her. Since then, she has been experimenting with computers in her own time as a hobby.

Anacani was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. She graduated from George Washington High School where she had taken college-level courses with the intent of going to college. She graduated in 2012 and went on to Metropolitan State University of Denver where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in management.

Anacani had hoped to continue to graduate school, but her financial situation held her back. Freshly graduated but unsure what she wanted to do next, Anacani joined the Transportation Security Administration at Denver International Airport.

For three years, she worked as an agent and slowly leveled up the ranks to an officer position. But she found herself taking on roles that she didn’t feel comfortable in. Then the coronavirus pandemic shut everything down. With the airports running on survival mode, Anacani watched as many of her coworkers lost their jobs or quit. She remembers, “it was a very stressful work environment for everyone there.” She realized that a career in IT could put her where she wanted to be mentally and financially.

In the beginning of the shutdown, she had been going to work at the airport while many of her coworkers worked remotely from home. There were days where she spent a lot of her time on the phone in the airport with an IT support person working from their home. After a while, Anacani would ask the IT support members about their industry. With her background knowledge and understanding of computers systems, Anacani channeled her frustrations with her workplace into a search for better opportunities. She says, “I went down rabbit holes of information looking for the answers I needed.” And from those rabbit holes, Anacani turned it into a curious exploration of jobs in the industry.

She discovered ActivateWork’s tuition-free IT training through an Indeed job posting. “I thought it was too good to be true,” she said. She was intrigued and felt that she should scope out the program before she wrote it off. She applied and found out that it was an educational course designed to help people like her level up in the workforce. Anacani felt that her participation in the program would give her a leg up in the job search process. She felt confident despite the rigorous 15-week commitment that she could find great success with the support of the community ActivateWork could provide.

“It was a lot. I was up from 4 AM and often didn’t get down time until 12 AM. I was trying to balance work and going to school, but joining ActivateWork was a 180 degree change for me.”

After graduating with her IT support certification, Anacani started her job at Ardent Mills as an IT support analyst.

“I feel like I’ve finally found a company that will put their employees first,” she said. “They’re very supportive of their people and are open to helping them through more workforce development. I’m a lot happier here.”

Anacani feels that she has a great team at Ardent Mills—she appreciates the encouragement and support of her team to help her continue in an upward trajectory. She plans to continue to upskill and expand her skill set into cloud computing and engineering.

 

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