Graduate Profile: Anthony Choi

Over the last nine years, Anthony Choi had built successful retail sales career, earning accolades for his strong sales performance and effectively training new associates. Yet Anthony still felt something was missing.

“I know it sounds strange, but my job had become easy and I wasn’t using my brain most of the time,” said Anthony.

Working nights and weekends had also taken a toll on Anthony and made it more challenging to spend time with his daughter. Seeking a change, Anthony returned to school, receiving a bachelor’s degree in information technology from Colorado Technical University.

Anthony was searching for IT positions online when he noticed a post for ActivateWork. The program, thought Anthony, offered the opportunity to diversify his IT knowledge and increase his marketability. It also seemed like a smart way to spend his time while on furlough from his job.

A month later, Anthony’s employer called him back to work and he made the decision to commit himself full-time to ActivateWork instead. And for 15 weeks, Anthony did little beyond attending virtual classes, working on labs and studying. Even weekends were spent catching up on reading.

“I always thought I knew about computers until I took this course,” he said. “It was definitely challenging. They told us up front that they were basically putting years of school into 15 weeks.”

The reward, however, was well worth the work, said Anthony, who credits ActivateWork for equipping him with more than just IT experience. After not interviewing for a job for nearly a decade, Anthony found himself out of practice and benefitted from ActivateWork’s career coaching and also appreciated the program’s offerings on financial literacy.

“It’s an amazing program and everyone who has the opportunity should do it,” Anthony said.

ActivateWork assisted Anthony with the job search process and referred him to FirstBank, which offered him a newly-created tech support position.

“Without the certification and training from ActivateWork, I don’t think FirstBank would’ve reached out to me because usually they promote from within,” added Anthony. “That’s where ActivateWork is a huge help — they are proactively contacting these company and letting them know what they are teaching their students.”

FirstBank has partnered with ActivateWork in the past to hire entry and mid-level talent. The bank values the IT hard and soft skills training program as well as the post-placement coaching support from ActivateWork, ensuring that new hires thrive.

“Together ActivateWork and FirstBank are working to provide access to good, career-pathway jobs to those who have traditionally lacked the opportunity. We are thrilled that Anthony will be launching his new career at this people-centric company,” said ActivateWork Founder and CEO Helen Young Hayes.

The job offers room to grow and the ability for Anthony to continue furthering his education.

Changing careers after working for more than two decades was a big risk, but Anthony said he wanted to prove to his now teenage daughter that anything is possible.

“It’s never too late to go back to school and do what you want in life,” said Anthony. “I wanted to show my daughter that.”

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