Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means a reason for being. Learn how to apply it to your career journey.

February 1, 2021

Chris came to the Workforce Income Share Agreement (ISA) Fund while an employee at the San Diego Zoo, where he worked for 14 years. He was looking for a change but found it difficult to find opportunities in his field of interest without education beyond a high school diploma. He heard about the ISA program on NPR and KPBS during his morning commute and, although the program hadn’t launched yet, he kept a close eye on the website.

When the first Workforce ISA cohort launched in July 2019, Chris chose to study Business Intelligence (BI) since he was working in a BI capacity in his position at the time. He was enjoying the work he was doing, though he was feeling limited in his current role.

Driven to improve his earning potential as a new father, he decided to take the course to expand his current BI skill set and gain a certification that would hopefully make him more desirable to prospective employers.

“I want to note first off that it wasn’t just the certification that helped change my career path” says Chris. “The Workforce Partnership was instrumental in helping me with the parts that the BI course didn’t cover and in helping me find a new career. Things like one-on-one coaching,—thanks to great coaches like Matt Roman and Alistair Penny—mock interviews, seminars on writing a resume and how to make your LinkedIn profile look professional. Looking for a job requires a whole skill set of its own, and the Workforce Partnership was able to teach me those skills.”

Chris actively worked alongside his ISA Analyst to find a full-time job opportunity. He applied to dozens of jobs and was a final candidate more than once in the months after he graduated, but each time, things didn’t pan out. He persevered and continued to apply, and five months after graduation secured a role as a business intelligence analyst at Community Housing. This job, his first outside of the Zoo in 14 years, started him a salary of approximately $71,000, which represents a pay raise of over $14 an hour.

“The skills I learned in the course have been put to good use in my new position, and the confidence that comes with earning the certificate has allowed me to quickly become a valued employee,” says Chris.

Chris’ advice to any job seeker? “Don’t stop trying, don’t stop applying and don’t get discouraged even if it feels like you’re hearing ‘no thank you’ all the time. I can’t tell you it’ll happen if you try, but it definitely will never happen if you DON’T try.”

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