After graduating high school, Brian Sarbaugh found himself diving into the world of take out and food trucks.
From running a hot dog cart with a friend in downtown Philadelphia, to jumping into the cookie truck business, to eventually seizing an opportunity to manage his own lunch truck, Brian embraced the excitement and challenges of the hospitality industry, but always knew he wanted more. “I would Google salary charts and the corresponding career paths and realized I had no idea how to take the next step. There’s not a lot out there to help you get your foot in the door, especially without a college degree”.
After trying out courses in music theory at a community college, Brian struggled finding his footing at school and felt he had pigeonholed himself in the food truck world. It fed his creative side and love of meeting and helping people, but it wasn’t quite what he envisioned as his career for the long term. After a few years of uncertainty, Brian was at a time where he was ready to take his career building more seriously and that’s when he stumbled upon the ITWorks program.
A Twist of Fate
At the time Brian came across ITWorks, he was spending his days doing landscape work for a friend and in return, Brian was getting career counseling to find his next move. Coincidentally, an email chain from his neighborhood group was spotted by his Mother that included an advertisement for the ITWorks program. Wasting no time, Brian applied and enrolled in the 2011 ITWorks cohort. Looking back now, it was one of the most life-changing decisions he has ever made.
An important aspect of the ITWorks curriculum is the 5-week internship that every program participant must undergo, collaborating with regional employment allies like Independence Blue Cross, where Brian was lucky enough to get placed. Emphasizing both interpersonal and technical skills and the process of marrying the two in real life situations, the internship program allowed Brian’s hard-working attitude and creativity to shine. After graduating and passing his Comp TIA+ exam, Brian was offered a permanent position at Blue Cross.
Fast forward a full decade, Brian's ten-year tenure at Blue Cross was marked by growth, learning, and countless experiences. He navigated diverse teams and technologies while building his skills and confidence at every turn, and took any opportunity he could to advance himself. After multiple promotions and many different responsibilities, Brian emerged as a seasoned IT professional, a role he could only dreamed of years before. “Being in a stable financial and life position makes it easier to support loved ones, family, and friends which means so much to me.”
The prospect of growth and the desire for fresh challenges led him to explore opportunities beyond Blue Cross. Brian made the leap to a new company, embracing the uncertainty with the confidence gained from his time at ITWorks and Blue Cross over the years. Brian is now a part of the security team for Morgan Stanley and his career has also given him the freedom and confidence to resume his college studies – Brian is enrolled part time in a Computer Science program.
Brian is excited about his next chapters in both his personal and professional life. His journey exemplifies what a mixture of determination, openness to new possibilities, and a little bit of luck can do. “To be able to look back and see how far I’ve come is really amazing. I did this with a high school diploma and accreditations I acquired during the ITWorks program. Never in a million years did I think I would have this level of stability, financial means, and skills. If you have even an inch of interest and confidence, this program will set you up for successes and a career I never thought possible”.
In the fall of 2023, Brian was named Tech Impact’s Distinguished Alumni honoree, that recognizes and celebrates alumni that continued to support the success of the ITWorks program through ongoing mentorship, volunteering, and working with current students going through the program. “The best way I know to thank Tech Impact is to keep active in the program and give back anyway I can. Sometimes a helping hand is all that’s needed, and I love being that for someone else”.