One of our outstanding students in the New Horizons Veteran IT Program is Ron Watson and we are thrilled to share a bit on him and his accomplishments this month. Our team is extremely proud of him for many achievements during his time at New Horizons, but most notably he was awarded the First Annual 2018 New Horizons Achievement Award for Student Excellence.
On Veterans Day, Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) and Jamie Cooper, Director of Education at New Horizons, presented Ron with this special award. Ron, who is today employed at U.S. Southern Command, who achieved top grades while pursuing security and network certifications, worked with New Horizons to land his first IT-related job and is seeking currently to work for the National Security Agency.
During Ron’s time at New Horizons and during his service in the military, he always showcased great ambition and determination no matter what the task. We first met Ron in April 2017 as he had currently been unemployed for two years. Unfortunately, he was not able to land any positions, so he decided to seek out further education and ultimately ended up obtaining an MBA.
After our team met with Ron and presented the opportunity for him to obtain Information Technology certifications and the ability to get into a high demand high wage career path, he was convinced this was the right career path for him. Although he thought he had used all of his GI Bill® benefits to obtain his MBA, he was determined to obtain the funding to attend the Network Security Professional Preparatory Program at New Horizons. He tried to get a loan, but that did not work out and he did not let that hurdle stop him. He wasn’t sure what this path had in store for him or how he would pay for it, but he knew he would figure it out.
With the help of New Horizons assisting him to navigate through the different funding streams, we ended up calling the VA together. Through that effort, he found out that he never used the post-9/11 GI Bill® benefits and ultimately was approved for the entire program.
Within a month of starting the program, Ron passed his 901-certification exam and was one of only two students in his class that achieved the CompTIA A+ certification so quickly. With the help of Career Services at New Horizons, he was able to land an entry-level IT position. He knew he needed to start somewhere.
Fast forward six months later, Ron came back to New Horizons and earned more certifications. While working, he constantly studied to pass the CompTIA Network+ then the following week he received his CompTIA Security+ certifications. Today, Ron is working at the U.S. Southern Command with double the salary from when he started his IT career. It’s also important to note that The U.S.Southern Command is located in Doral, Florida, and Ron lives in West Palm Beach. Now that is what we call dedication and determination! Ron is not stopping there as he is now working towards securing a position at the NSA (National Security Agency).
On behalf of our team at New Horizons, we could not be more proud of Ron and are excited to see the amazing things he is going to accomplish! Best of luck, Ron.
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