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Addressing the Skills Gap: How to Get People Trained Now
CNBC.com | March 02, 2012 | 12:24 PM EST

Mason Jones is one of my heroes.

Growing up in rural Georgia, Mason didn’t do well in school – or, as he puts it, “I barely got out of high school”. His big plan after graduation was to go to work for the tractor trailer manufacturer on the assembly line where he would do intense, manual labor every day. After a year on the job, Mason had an epiphany. “I decided,” he says, “to work with my mind. And, I wasn’t even sure what that meant at the time, but I was willing to find out.”

Mason would soon discover that his choices were limited: Go to work, go to the military, or go to school.

Tough choices, since most kids come out of high school with no idea what they want to do with their lives, and with very few opportunities to test the waters to find out.

So, Mason joined the Navy and over the next seven years, he acquired the technology skills he thought he would need to succeed in a growing IT market. After the military, Mason applied to my IT services company as a data storage consultant, but we told him that he still needed more training.

To his credit, Mason got the training and certifications he needed. A few months later, he came back to us and we hired him. He became a superstar consultant, rose to be a manager and ultimately a director of client services. He grew both professionally and personally and became a huge asset to our organization.

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