Lewis


lewis-matthews

Before Year Up, I worked at a blur of dead-end jobs—Macy’s, school janitor, bouncer. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew I loved computers.  So I enrolled in a program called CTI, Career Technical Institute.  It was the only IT program that I knew about—the only one that anyone I grew up with knew about.  First, it was okay… then the bills started to come.  And it was just book-learning, test-taking, and too fast.  There wasn’t any one-on-one instruction or hands-on learning, no way to see the motherboard or the RAM.  And I couldn’t afford to continue anyway.  My mother was helping, but I didn’t want to continue to ask her for money.

I was unemployed and out of school, with a 3-year-old daughter and a son on the way.  I went to McDonald’s and asked if they were hiring.  I put in an application, and I waited.  Then I kept popping up every week for a month straight to see if I had been hired, and just kept calling and calling.  They lost my application, but I asked for a new one.  Finally, the manager said, “Okay, let’s just hire him!”  When I first started, they knew I needed hours, so they would call me on my off days, on the weekends, dayshifts, nightshifts, holidays, come in early, stay late—I would always say, “Yes, of course!”  I worked there for a year as a Crew Trainer.  They wanted me to be a Manager, but I said no.  I saw the managers there;  they were all miserable and worked as managers for a very long time.  You had to almost break an arm and leg to get a new position.  And I had 2 kids, I was 24, and I didn’t want to work at McDonald’s my whole life.

Thankfully, I heard about Year Up, and like many of my colleagues, first wondered: “Is it real?”  It was real, and it was a life-changer for me.  I learned how to dress professionally, speak professionally, send emails, and be an effective team leader

When I got to my internship at the Carlyle Group as a Service Desk Technician six months later, I was a little unsure what to do.  But the second week I was there, nearly every computer at the company suddenly got hit with the blue screen of death.  My team didn’t know what to do at first—everyone was going crazy. I didn’t know how to fix it, but I said, “I’m here for support, so I’m going to help the best I can.”  That’s the moment when I gained their trust and they realized they could rely on me.  My manager would come ask me, “Did you take care of that yet?,” and I would always respond, “Yes, an hour or two ago.”

Towards the end of my internship, our VP asked me what I was doing after Graduation, and if I wanted to be part of a migration project.  I said, “Yes, of course.”  I was kept on as a contractor, and then 3 weeks into the project, the head VP talked to my manager, and asked who could be relied on to be in charge of the project… and the answer was me.  They asked me to be the Windows 10 Migration Team Lead Consultant.  Taking on that role was very new, very important, and very serious to me—I knew there was no buckling, and I couldn’t turn it down.  I was and still am in charge of all inventory and devices, and any machine with Windows 10.

Now, my colleagues at the Service Desk come to me regularly with questions:  “Have you seen this before? How do we do this?”  I am happy to show them what to do and how to fix it, and they say, “That’s all?”  I have learned that I have a knack for teaching people and showing people how to fix things.  I am very grateful that I am recognized for the great value I bring to the Carlyle Group.

After my contract was over I worked closely with YUPRO to prepare me for my new assignment. They help sharpen my skills for the interviewer. For example we did practice interviews, and touched up my resume to make it look up to date. I really appreciate the help that I have obtained from Patricia Hughes, she was a very big help in that process. I am so thankful for her, with that I was accepted to be Desktop Engineer at Freddie Mac. It was a journey and very tough, but she gave me the encouragement to get through that phase. Thank you, and I am glad that I chose Year Up it changed my life for the best.