South Piedmont Community College student Ryan Petty’s Work-Based Learning assignment just turned into his first job in information technology — right here on campus.
Work-Based Learning, which falls under the College’s newly created Business Solutions division, allows students to earn academic credit by working for an employer in a position directly related to their field of study.
Petty grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and became interested in computers and all things tech while in high school.
“Throughout high school, I worked with the IT department at my high school. I helped teachers and staff members with their equipment. I really enjoyed the hands-on side of it. I like helping people solve their technology problems,” Petty said.
After high school, Petty and his grandmother relocated to Indian Trail to be closer to family, and Petty enrolled at South Piedmont. He completed his Associate in Arts in 2016. Last year, he returned to South Piedmont to earn his Information Systems Certificate. The program includes an elective Work-Based Learning component, which especially appealed to Petty. Although not a requirement, Ryan chose to take Work-Based Learning to enhance his academic experience.
Petty will complete his certificate this spring, but it’s already proved a wise investment. After five months in his Work-Based Learning assignment with the College’s IT department, South Piedmont hired him as a paid part-time employee.
He now works several days a week as a desktop support technician, responding to help desk requests from employees throughout the college. On any given day, he can be found performing routine maintenance, setting up new machines, or installing updates.
“I love the mental challenge of troubleshooting problems and trying to figure out what happened,” Petty said.
Petty highly recommends Work-Based Learning to his fellow students.
“I got hands-on knowledge and experience, the kinds of things you can’t get from a book or a lab. I got a feel for the working environment and the particularities of the job,” he said.
“Students should definitely do Work-Based Learning. I built my network, built my resume, and got a job.”
Petty hopes to work in tech support for several years and then seek a job either in systems administration or cybersecurity.
Learn more about Work-Based Learning at spcc.edu/work-based-learning.