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Dream Job Becomes Reality for GRTS Grad
October 28, 2016
Marla Harrington, Admissions and Financial Aid Coordinator

Loving what you do and getting paid to do it... that's the American dream - right? What many Grand River Technical School graduates are realizing is that this can, in fact, be a reality, with specialized technical training certifications. GRTS has placed graduates who held a passion for hunting as maintenance technicians with Bass Pro Inc; the kid who grew up around his dad's classic cars now restores muscle cars for a living; the former star athlete in high school who loves basketball is in electrical maintenance at Mizzou's Hearnes Arena and Faurot Field; the little boy who took apart and put back together all the electronics and motors lying around the house is now a technician at Google; and the three cousins who took a program together... all were certified and able to return to their hometown they love and work at the local power plant.

And take Kaleb Gilliland, for example, who has a lifelong passion for baseball and now works for Pro Athlete, Inc., an e-commerce company that sells baseball bats and gloves online. But first, rewind a bit. Kaleb, from Ludlow, Missouri, graduated with a college degree and worked a few years in his field of study; and after five years realized he was looking for more - a way to better provide for his family and allow him to pursue his interest in technology. Kaleb visited Grand River Technical School with an interest in computers and network administration. By this time in his life, he was married with a brand new baby and looking to move ahead into a more lucrative career with advancement opportunities lacking in his current job. The option of a 9-month, streamlined training program, complete with national certifications, hands on training, and at a price he could afford, was an opportunity he felt he couldn't pass up.

Kaleb enrolled in Grand River Tech's Computer Network Technology program where he studied Networking, System Management, Implementation and Administration, Peripheral Device Technology, Mobile Device Technology, File Management, Printer Technology and Security Technology. Through this program, under the instruction of Mr. Brandon Dennis, a former student now in his 9th year of teaching at GRTS, students gain the skills necessary to the world of Information Technology (IT). This is accomplished through a combination of classroom lecture, online tutorial, equipment diagnostics, hands-on OJT/internships, and national certification testing. Kaleb joined the program to learn, to progress and become certified, and THAT he did! Upon mastering the required skills in the course, Kaleb tested and received the CompTIA A+ certification and the CompTIA Network + certification, both national industry credentials.

Kaleb then accepted employment with Pro Athlete, Inc. of Kansas City. He started as Desktop Support Engineer, advanced to Technical Project Manager, and has recently been promoted to IT Director. When asked how he "landed" this job, he said "it was through an assignment Mr. Dennis had us do." Progressively, throughout the year, Mr. Dennis has his students preparing for employment by searching online for IT related jobs and researching the skills necessary for the job. When Kaleb ran across a job on Pro Athlete's website, he found what he and his fellow students dubbed a "dream job". Kaleb thought to himself "how awesome would it be to work with technology in a company where I can be surrounded by baseball every day!"

But he wouldn't accept that it was a "dream job". He was determined to make it his reality. Now, less than three years with the company, Kaleb's skill, his hard work and incredible work ethic, have allowed him to grow in his job and be entrusted with the responsibilities he has. His vision is what makes him perfect for the Pro Athlete "team". As you walk through the facility in KC, the walls are decorated with quotes from famous baseball players such as "It is supposed to be fun. The man says 'play ball' not 'work ball', you know" by Willie Stargell, and "When I was up there at the plate, my purpose was to get on base any way I could, whether by hitting or getting hit" by Shoeless Joe Jackson. The customer contact center mimics Royals Stadium. The company embraces healthy, happy employees by building in yoga style exercises into the daily schedule and maintaining an in-house fitness center, swimming pool and ball courts. Pro Athlete's 12 Core Values include * Create Fans Through Service * Build a Fun and Trusted Environment * Create a University Setting * Embrace Innovation * Family First * Create a Healthy Work Environment * Build a Systems Dependent Company * Be Resourceful * Embrace Stewardship * Build Redundancy * Focus on Results, Not Work * Be Thankful. Considering this kind of company philosophy, is there any wonder why Kaleb has found success?

The job outlook for network and computer systems administrators continues to grow. More than 30,000 jobs are expected to open over the next eight years. And in the ever changing world of technology, the possibilities for related jobs are endless. Social media has changed, in unprecedented ways, the processes by which many companies are doing business. If you have the drive, the creativity, and a knack for technology, consider yourself a candidate. For an opportunity to find out how you can be on the way to your dream job in Information Technology or other skilled trades such as Building Trades, Welding, Auto/Diesel/Collision Technology, Industrial Maintenance, EMT/Paramedic, and Child Care, contact the admissions department at 660-646-3414.

Here's a little more information about Pro Athlete, Inc., selling baseball bats and gloves through JustBats.com: Largest online bat dealer in America. KC Corporate Challenge Champion 5 years running. Voted 3rd healthiest company in America. Donated to 130 charities in 2015. Lifelong partner and friend to famous baseball heroes like George Brett, Albert Pujols, Salvador Perez, Billy Butler, Coach Dayton Moore and many others.

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