Joshua Patel working on laptop computer

Unexpected Returns

Joshua Patel was one of the many U.S. citizens who made up the 9.5% unemployment rate of 2009 during the heart of the recession. Armed with a Master’s Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology from Roosevelt University, Joshua could not find gainful employment, let alone land an interview in his chosen profession. A lifelong Riverdale resident and graduate of Thornton Township High School, Joshua’s unexpected pathway brought him back to his community to inspire his rewarding career.

Joshua returned to South Suburban College to take some computer classes to make himself more marketable. It was there that he discovered a passion for Computer Information Systems (CIS) quickly earning his Network Specialist Certificate in 2010. Joshua furthered his credentials with Network + Certification and Cisco’s CCNA Certification, which validates the ability to install, configure, operate, and troubleshoot medium-size routed technologies.

“It was totally unexpected that I would shift my career path once I dug into some of these technology courses,” said Joshua. “But it just really appealed to me knowing as I saw cloud technology, streaming and social media evolve that they could not be possible without the core component of networking. It feels good to be a part of it.”

Now a 34-year old Naperville resident, Joshua’s return to his roots led him to a meaningful career in more ways than one – he applied for an open position at SSC in 2012 and has been working as a Network Specialist ever since.

“It sounds cliché, but it feels like I’m part of a community. Returning to my roots, the place where I grew up, where I lived most of my life, where I went to high school… now I feel like I’m back home in my career.”

Joshua’s story represents just one of the thousands of nontraditional pathways that lead to successful careers through the Illinois community system every year.