Upskilling to expand earnings
By Coleman Cornelius | Jan. 1, 2023
AFIF ACHMAD WAS 21 years old and working a low-level IT job near Los Angeles when he realized he needed to take custody of his younger brother.
Achmad lived on his own, but his family struggled with homelessness. His brother, who was 12, suffered from neglect and was in desperate need of a healthy, stable home, Achmad said. He initiated court proceedings and became his brother’s guardian.
To take care of himself and his younger brother, Achmad sought to expand his professional abilities and growth potential, he said. He already had an associate degree from a local community college, so Achmad looked for ways to upskill and complete a bachelor’s degree. He opted to enroll at CSU Global for its flexible, online course work, which he accomplished while working a full time job and functioning as a single parent.
In Spring 2022, Achmad fulfilled his goal: He attained his bachelor’s degree in project management with a specialization in information technology, building on competence he had earlier established. He landed a new IT job with more responsibility – and immediately increased his salary by 45 percent.
“My bachelor’s degree allowed me to confidently approach the professional world. Once I had that, applying to jobs has been effortless, and recruiters are reaching out to me left and right. It feels good,” Achmad said. “Education aligned with professional experience will get you the job you want.”
HOW HE PAID
- Full-time work
- Pell Grants
- Grant from the state of California
- Student loan
- Manageable debt
Even more, he’s able to provide for himself and his brother, who is now 16 and earning a 4.0 grade point average in high school near Los Angeles.
“I became a role model for him,” Achmad said. “It’s a blessing to be in a position to take care of him and live comfortably. My goal is to make sure he graduates and gets into college.”
A first-generation Asian and Pacific Islander, with parents from the Philippines and Indonesia, Achmad also is a first-generation college student. In addition to his full-time job, he has started a business to refurbish computers.
“There’s lots of room to grow,” Achmad said. “Anything is possible.”
Photo at top: Afif Achmad, 25, grew up near Los Angeles with English as his second language. Last year, he earned a bachelor’s degree in project management from CSU Global and is working in IT administration.