2023 ITWorks

Khalil's Journey Through ITWorks

Read about Khalil's journey through ITWorks and how taking a leap of faith impacted his career for the better.

Impact Audience
Workforce Program Alum

Khalil Francis faced a difficult decision after losing his job as a busser due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

His job loss left him without the income needed to pay for school. After pushing through several classes at his local community college from spring to summer, he was now at a crossroads on how to continue. And as the deadline for admission for the fall semester quickly approached, he had to make a choice soon. By sheer coincidence, Khalil received an email from an old connection regarding Tech Impact's ITWorks program. Inadvertently, the message landed in his junk folder and was seconds away from being deleted before Khalil noticed it. When Khalil finally read the message, he was intrigued but equally skeptical because the premise seemed almost too good to be true. What he soon learned sent him spiraling down a rabbit hole of research that led to a single conclusion: he had to join. "I weighed all my options and decided that it was only 16 weeks and if it didn’t work out, I was at least going to be in a better position than when I started."

Khalil enrolled in the Fall 2020 Philadelphia cohort; a completely remote cohort due to the pandemic. He was eager to begin and had convinced himself beforehand that he would be able to tackle any challenges that would occur. But he did not anticipate that his greatest challenge would come from within. "Our cohort was very talented. A lot of folks knew their stuff. And they all had interesting stories and nuggets to contribute. Looking back, it was the first time I remember feeling 'imposter syndrome'. And honestly, I felt like quitting after day one. But I had to accept that I didn't know what I didn't know. And that this path was gonna have to be the bumpy road I had to travel down in order to get to where I needed to go."

With the support of his instructors, and his persistence to succeed, Khalil progressed through the program by re-framing his shortcomings as opportunities for growth. Ultimately, he earned his CompTIA A+ certificate and accepted an internship with PNC during the last weeks of the program, but it was a Friday session with The Judge Group that became a pivotal moment in his ITWorks journey. He met with David Armstrong, now the CIO at Judge, who came in to speak with the class about his career and offered the cohort an opportunity to read a book he had just completed, Predictably Irrational by Dr. Dan Ariely. Khalil read the book and reached back out to David to share his thoughts, prompting a new mentorship-like relationship between them. It was Khalil's proactive engagement that led to this connection that extended beyond this Friday session. The day after graduation, Khalil was offered a full-time position at the Judge Group by David. His ability to leverage connections and use mentorship and support not only secured him a job but propelled his career to new heights.  

Khalil's path into tech was never a surefire guarantee. Although he had discovered ITWorks by chance, it was through steady determination and goal-oriented actions that he graduated from the program and launched his career in tech. "Ultimately, I credit my time in ITWorks with helping me grasp the importance of maximizing every opportunity. I studied whenever I could, stayed after class, asked the "dumb" questions, practiced with study groups, researched every panelist at each Friday Session, and set up calls with them throughout the program--I tried to leave nothing on the table. Now, imagine if I had quit."

For those considering the ITWorks program, Khalil offers a few words of advice: "Do yourself a favor and apply. Turn that 'later' into 'now' and take that leap of faith. Tech Impact won't let you fall." 

Khalil Francis Headshot