Tuesday, July 14, 2020

From Hospitality to IT – Meet Jad Driggers

This story was originally published on Peirce College’s website found here.

When Jad Driggers reached his late 30s, he came to the realization that many come to at some point in their career – he didn’t want to be in his industry anymore. With a background in culinary, restaurant and hospitality, Jad was ready to transition to a new career path that didn’t have quite the demanding schedule and hours.

Jad decided he would go back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in an industry that would take him to the career path he always wanted.

As a father and husband, Jad knew he couldn’t just do the traditional educational route. He needed to find a program that fit his needs. After doing some research on schools who focus on non-traditional learners and working with his employer on their partner schools, Jad began his journey with Peirce College.

“I work for Select Health, a subsidiary of AmeriHealth Caritas and they originally encouraged me to look into non-traditional options. Peirce College was one of those options. I saw Peirce College had an Information Technology program and I could earn my degree through a competency-based format. After discovering Peirce College had a strong history in education and had the competency-based program established for a few years, I decided on Peirce.”

Jad enrolled at Peirce College in the Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program in the Fall of 2017. Thanks to his unique career and educational history, Jad was able to transfer in some general studies courses and dive into the Competency-Based Education (CBE) program with credits completed and goals in mind.

During the program, Jad said he gained, “a deeper understanding of the IT industry. I learned a lot about information security and I was able to earn three different IT certifications while in the program.” Jad said this new degree and the certifications were sure to help him secure jobs in the future.

Jad wasn’t wrong. Originally working in the call center for Select Health, Jad recently was promoted to the position of Data Analyst thanks to his new education and experience. “I interviewed for a job in February and when I told them I was finishing up my degree, I got the promotion,” exclaimed Jad.

Originally, Jad was on track to finish his degree in December 2020, but thanks to the flexibility of the CBE program, Jad could earn as many credits as he wanted each term and that is exactly what he did. “In January, I looked at my schedule and saw it was mapped out until December. I decided I really wanted to get this done. So, I worked with my advisor, Christa Donato, who helped me revamp my schedule to get all my classes and credits done by March.”

In the remaking of his schedule, Christa directed Jad to Peirce’s partnership with Study.com where he was able to take three courses outside of his CBE program and transfer in the credits necessary to graduate. Jad said, “My experience with Study.com and Peirce College was great and extremely smooth. Thanks to my motivation, I was able to complete three courses. All I had to do once I was done was let Christa know and she worked on the backend to get my credits in no problem.”

Thanks to the flexible opportunities and the ability to earn credits through Peirce College’s alternative credit providers, Jad was able to complete twelve months’ worth of credits in three months saving him significant time and money.

As Jad reflects back on his time at Peirce, he said, “I wish I would have found this sooner. It was everything I was looking for and more. Also, Christa Donato was paramount in getting me to the finish line. She helped keep me on track, answered all my questions, understood when I needed a slower semester, and was supportive when I wanted to load up on classes. Christa helped me get here.”

Now, as a Class of 2020 graduate, Jad offers advice for all those other working adults who may be seeking a new career path, but are unsure where to start. He said, “It might seem like a lot to take on as an employee, parent, spouse, etc., but it can be done. You will be paired with a mentor and advisor who will work with you to come up with a schedule and plan that fits your life, but gets you to your end goal.”

Congratulations to Jad on all of his accomplishments!