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By SANDIE BANKS
Andrew Johnson has achieved what most people twice his age have not and others may never have. He has secured his “dream job” with the Carroll County School System.
In June at the young age of 23, Johnson was hired by the school district as the Computer Maintenance Technician, a job he “absolutely” considers his dream job.
Johnson is the person responsible for making sure the physical aspects of the system are up and running for the schools. He said these include, but are not limited to, the routers, switches, wiring and other items needed to keep everyone connected.
“I worry about the physical network,” Johnson said. Without the physical network, there would be no connectivity within the district.
Johnson didn’t just get lucky, he has been working a long time to secure this position.
“In high school, I went through the vocational school and took their IT program,” Johnson said. The program was located at the Carroll County Area Technology Center, located across the drive from Carroll County High School.
At ATC, Johnson learned the basics of information technology and got a head start on his future career by earning some dual credit hours that would later apply toward his college degree.
In his senior year of high school, Johnson was thinking “very realistically” about college and his future. He worried about his success at a big college, where he might get lost in the mass of students. He found a scholarship that would afford him the opportunity to stay local and pursue something he was interested in, information technology.
The scholarship was offered through the Carroll County Training Consortium. He applied for it and received it. He opted to stay local and attend the Carrollton Campus of Jefferson Community and Technical College.
Johnson began the program in August 2007 right out of high school. His training at JCTC, funded by the scholarship from the Carroll County Training Consortium, helped him achieve his associates degree in network administration, Johnson said. The scholarship paid his full tuition while at JCTC. It was there he said he learned the “physical side” of networking, the very thing that ultimately landed him his dream job.
During Johnson’s time at JCTC, his advisor was Andy Anderson, who is now the JCTC Carrollton Campus IT Project Manager. Anderson said Johnson’s “passion for IT led him to apply for the CCTC scholarship.”
As with many JCTC students, Anderson said Johnson “took a mix of classes that included both in-person classes on our campus and online classes.” This allowed him to “have a wide variety of classes” without “having to drive long distances to attend those classes,” Anderson said.
While in the program, Johnson also earned his A+ certification and his Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert certification. He began contracting with the school system’s IT department during his time at JCTC. Johnson found his calling and told the department “keep me in mind, if you ever have a position come open.”
He graduated from JCTC with an AAS in December 2009.
Johnson was thrilled when they did eventually have an opening and believes he was hired due to the “work ethic” he exhibited while contracting with the department.
“I am working with people I looked up to as a student,” Johnson said. “I also want to give back to the community. ... It’s also job security. Schools aren’t going away; I am prepared to retire from here.”
Just because he has found his dream job does not mean Johnson is through learning and growing. He said he plans to eventually go to Western Kentucky University through the online courses in order to attain his bachelors degree when things slow down. He also plans “to get Apple certified later on down the road due to the high volume we now have in the school system.”
The Carroll County Training Consortium works with local industry, finding out what they want from the workforce, and attempt to help supply that demand. According to its bylaws, the group’s primary purpose “is to develop and implement various cooperative training programs for local industry, to upgrade skills of the current workforce, to prepare others for entry into the workforce in the future. Any corporation or business involved in manufacturing in the Carroll County Area may be a member of the Carroll County Training Consortium.”
Lisa Stethen, coordinator of academic programs at JCTC, works closely with the CCTC scholarship students while they are at JCTC. She advises and often guides them towards their goals. According to the scholarship application, the scholarships are designed to assist students “in the Carroll, Gallatin, Trimble, Henry and Owen County areas to obtain the training needed to gain employment in the highly skilled technical job market of Carroll and surrounding counties.”
Stethen said an “adult scholarship is currently available, with the deadline of Nov. 7.” Any high school graduate wanting to pursue the applied process technology or the engineering and electronic technology programs may apply for this scholarship.”
As with the high school scholarship, this scholarship pays full tuition, but there are some guidelines that must be followed. Books are the responsibility of the student. For more information on applying for the CCTC scholarship, please call Lisa Stethen at (502) 732-4846, ext. 35209.