Icaps Is Only The Begining

"Obtaining my GED and ICAPS certificate is not the culmination of a goal. It is only the beginning," said José Bañuelos.

José recently earned his IT Network Technician Certification through Rock Valley College's ICAPS (Integrated Career and Academic Preparation System) Program. ICAPS is an academic support program for students pursuing college certifications in high-demand occupations.

José owns two successful businesses, a garage door repair and installation company and a construction company. Working full-time and managing multiple companies can be a challenge while in school, but the ICAPS Program provided José with the support he needed to complete his certification to help him continue growing his businesses and further his education.

"There's a lot of support for all the classes," shared José. "In a way, it makes it very easy for us to accomplish our goals, and I'm very grateful for that level of support."

José moved to the United States from Mexico City when he was eighteen years old. At that time, he began his education by taking RVC's ESL classes. Once he got to a certain level, he realized it was in his best interest to keep going. "Then I got my GED in order to take college classes. I took some classes and then started working full-time," explained José. After many years, he decided it was time to go back to school.

"As the years passed, I realized that I was falling behind because I had not had updated computer training," said José. "Everything keeps changing, so I decided I needed to continue my education."

Now, José has his IT Network Certification and is about to start classes for his certificate in Industrial Welding through the ICAPS Program. And he doesn't plan on stopping after that.

"To me, it's kind of a big deal because my background was limited," said José. "I don't have a degree yet, and I have the highest level of education in my family. So for me to earn an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree, or eventually something higher will be an incentive for my younger nephews and cousins to follow. I can show my younger relatives that they can also do it. They are not limited to just high school."

"José is such an inspiration. He has had many challenges in his life, but he did not let them discourage him from his goals," said Jenny Morgan (pictured with José), RVC Transitions and ICAPS Coordinator. "He approaches those challenges with creativity and with determination. Now that José has completed the IT ICAPS program, he plans to take welding classes. He is always looking to add one more tool to his tool belt for his small business. I believe that with his newfound momentum, he will go far!"

José's advice for someone considering an ICAPS Program is to make a decision and commit to it. "Once you're there, you'll find the time, and you'll find a way," said José. "Even for someone working full-time and taking a class once per semester, that's sufficient. It might take a little longer, but it's better than not doing it at all."

And just like José is doing, the program can help anyone pave the way for the people around.

"I think we should better ourselves so that we can offer better things to our family, our relatives, and our neighbors," said José.

To learn more about the ICAPS program at RVC, visit www.rockvalleycollege.edu/ICAPS.