Keith Adkins gave college another try and began working in IT before graduating
Keith Adkins attended college right out of high school, starting at a community college and then transferring to Cleveland State University. But he struggled with his studies and his commitment.
“I floundered,” he says. “I wasn’t prepared to go to college at that time.”
So, Adkins left school and spent the next two decades working various jobs from truck driver to line cook to retail associate. It wasn’t until the COVID pandemic hit that Adkins decided he’d had enough. He was working in retail at the time, and says the entire industry seemed to feel the negative impact of people’s COVID-related anxiety.
“How people treated retail workers changed,” he says. “I didn’t want to do it anymore.”
Adkins, who lives in Lorain, decided to give college another try. This time around, the husband and father went to Lorain County Community College, which was close to home and offered several Computer and Information Technology programs. He settled on an associate degree in network communications technology.
“I’d always been around computers, but it was just a hobby,” he says. “I had built multiple computers and was tech support for family members. And finally, I started to see that working in IT could be a job I’d enjoy doing.”
It had been almost 20 years since Adkins left school, but the transition was easier than he expected, in part because of his participation in LCCC’s Students Accelerating In Learning (SAIL) program. SAIL helps qualifying students with both academic and financial obstacles that might hinder their degree or certificate completion.
“SAIL helped a lot,” he says. “It fully paid for college and covered most of my books. With that taken care of I could just focus on my classes.”
Adkins’ hands-on classes prepared him for an internship within the information technology department at University Hospitals in Elyria. During the application process, Adkins says he breezed through the interviews because the skills he learned on campus were exactly what the interviewers were looking for in an intern.
“By just describing the things I was doing in class, I was answering the questions the interviewers planned to ask,” he says. “I was checking all the boxes.”
In May 2023 Adkins is earning his associate degree in network communications technology and will remain at his internship until September. After that he hopes to transition to University Hospitals full time.
“Without the knowledge I got at LCCC, I would not be able to get into the IT field,” he says.
“Without the knowledge I got at LCCC, I would not be able to get into the IT field.”