Last year, Omar Alexis Cervantes was working in retail as a cashier – now he’s a security technology analyst intern at United Airlines.

When Omar graduated from Pritzker College Prep, he spent a year at a four-year college before having to leave for financial reasons. He spent the next year and a half working as a cashier. When he was ready to hit the books again, the oldest of seven children and first-generation college student knew he had to find his own way to get his degree – so he headed to Harold Washington College, where he could work toward his associate in computer science at an affordable rate.

In fall 2016, he started taking classes at HWC, but was looking for a way to get more hands-on experience working with computers. He found the Year-Up program in September of 2017,  spent six months building skills in cyber security, then got placed into an internship at United Airlines.

Now with his associate degree in hand and an internship under his belt, the Pilsen resident hopes to get hired full-time at the end of his internship this summer. He’d like to continue to work at United in cyber security while getting his bachelor’s degree.

“Harold Washington College and Year Up have both contributed so much to my success this past year – I was able to pair hands-on experience with what I learned in the classroom. I am so happy I found both of them!”

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