Scholar Story

As frustrating as computer troubles can be, Donald Harlow always enjoyed troubleshooting and fixing his own devices when something went wrong. He enjoyed learning and searching for explanations to tech issues and the satisfaction of solving those problems like a puzzle.

After 12 years as an occupational therapy assistant, Harlow found himself disenchanted by the profession and wanted a career change.

Donald Harlow

He found the Work Education Program at Blue Ridge Community College in 2020 and began studying network security through the Virginia Ready Initiative.

While taking online classes in the evenings, Harlow was able to continue working his day job while he pursued his passion. He earned his Comp TIA Security + certificate and completed his program over the course of 7 months.

“Let your passions guide you. If it’s something you want to do, the sacrifices and extra time spent will all be worth it. Virginia Ready has helped me get my foot in the door,” says Harlow.

Harlow now works as a help desk analyst at SAIC, a founding partner of VA Ready.

He looks forward to continuing to develop his passion and grow in the cyber community.

“Every day there’s something new. It’s frustrating, but it’s exciting at the same time!” says Harlow.

“The partnership between SAIC and the Virginia Ready Initiative continues to pay dividends for us both, as we help prepare the next generation of the Virginia workforce,” says Michelle O’Hara, SAIC Chief Human Resources Officer. “We are very excited to have Donald join our company, and we congratulate him on his completion of the Scholar program. His journey is a proof point of the success of this great relationship.”

Are you looking to make a career change? Check out our supported courses:

In the News

Coalition of Virginia businesses and community colleges to combat COVID-19 job losses by equipping worker...

More Related Blogs

Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse
cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

In workforce, it's about the people.  Empowering all people to achieve a career pathway that offers economic m...
Congratulations on completing your healthcare program! Now, it's time to take the next step in your career jou...
March 28, 2023
After more than 20 years in the restaurant industry, Rachael McLelland went back to school, switched careers, ...

Succeed in your Career. Become a Scholar.

Take the first step towards success in your career by becoming a Virginia Ready Scholar and gain access to valuable resources, training, and support to achieve your professional goals.